ROARY the lion, a great ambassador for Oldham Rugby League Club, dropped in on Waterhead ARLFC’s three-to-six-year-olds to give the tiny tots a big surprise — and a roar or two !
“The boys and girls loved him,” said coach Matthew Taylor, who took on the role last June with five children and now boasts more than 30 on his roster.
He is assisted by his son Coen, who plays for the under-11s, and Joshua Eckersley, who’s in the under-13s.
Every player had a picture taken with Roary, who also did some dancing with the children and threw a ball around with them.
“Our numbers are growing so rapidly that we’ll soon have to split into two sessions a week, taking the younger ones and the older ones separately.
“As soon as we get a kit sorted out for them we’d love to take the children down to the Vestacare Stadium on a game day, meet up with Roary again and perhaps have the boys and girls walking out with the Roughyeds team.
“That would be fantastic for them.”
With the backing of Oldham RL Club and his sponsor, Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre, Roary will be happy to accept any invitation so long as his busy diary permits.
As the Roughyeds’ very own Lion King, the man in the costume is 22-year-old Nathan Murgatroyd, who has been the club’s mascot since he was 15.
He expects to be lead lion in the proposed formation of a new junior Roughyeds supporters’ club to be known as Roary’s Pride.
“I’ll support any cause, charity or fund-raiser. I just want to do my bit for Oldham RLFC, the borough and the community,”
His next assignment is a double act with Oldham Athletic’s Chaddy the Owl at the Fierce Dance Oldham Christmas Show and Awards Night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Friday, December 21.
Five men from Andy’s Man Club Oldham and five from Keira’s Wishes (Dr Kershaw’s) will compete in a street-dance contest called ‘Man Don’t Dance’ to raise funds jointly for Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and for Andy’s Man Club Oldham.
Three of the five dancing for Keira’s Wishes — Dave Thomas, Mark Smith and David Murgatroyd — are die-hard Roughyeds fans. The others are Jeff Elliott and Derek Harvey.
The five dancing for Andy’s Man Club are Paul Schofield, Steven Millard, Danny Potaman, Rick Bibey and Darren Stone.