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Bernard Halford dies, aged 77

IT is with deep regret and sadness that we record the passing of Bernard Halford, secretary and a leading light for many years in the Oldham RLFC (Past) Players’ Association.

Bernard, who was 77, spent most of his career in football administration, initially as secretary of Oldham Athletic and then, for more than 40 years, as club secretary of Manchester City, but he was also a keen rugby league enthusiast, particularly in his youth when he played for the Oldham ‘A’ team at Watersheddings.

In more recent years, he has been to the forefront of everything the Oldham RLFC Past Players Association has done and has stood for, drawing on his vast experience as a sports administrator to keep the association running smoothly, to arrange dinners and social functions and to serve as the group’s figurehead.

Bernard presents Anne Kearns with a sponsorship cheque at last year’s players’ awards night.

Born and raised in Chadderton, he began his working life in the cotton industry before becoming secretary of Athletic — a role he filled for several years before joining Manchester City in 1972, initially as company secretary but later as club secretary, a role he filled for nearly four decades.

His nickname was “Mr Manchester City” but to those who knew him on the rugby league scene he was probably irreplaceable as the Past Players’ figurehead and top administrator.

Of the many tributes being made today from across the sporting world, came this one from Oldham RLFC owner and chairman Christopher Hamilton.

He said:

“I knew Bernard for a number of years and particularly since he became a driving force behind our past Players Association.

“During that time I got to know him very well and he became a personal friend as did his wife Karen. We shared several great afternoons and evenings together at football games and occasions and also on other nights out.

“Bernard was one of my closest friends and was somebody in whom I could always confide and trust.

“His involvement in football and particularly Manchester City, where he was known as “Mr Manchester City” was known world-wide but his love for rugby league was just as strong. He had done everything at City and on the back of that he knew how hard it was to keep ORLFC afloat. It was perhaps that affinity that brought us close.

“His loss to such a cruel disease is so undeserved for a man who was a perfect gentleman to the very end.

“He was always thinking of others before himself and he will be so sadly missed by many, including myself.”

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AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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