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A beautiful celebration of Bernard Halford’s life and work

​OLDHAM’S rugby league community was well represented when the world of football gathered at St Mary’s RC Church in Failsworth on Wednesday, April 10 to celebrate the life of Manchester City’s beloved former Life President, Bernard Halford.

A staunch man of faith, Chadderton-born Bernard passed away, aged 77, on March 26, 2019. He began his career in football as a young secretary of Oldham Athletic in the 1960s before moving on to City, whom he served as secretary for more than 40 years.

Though known throughout football as “Mr Manchester City”, he also had a love of rugby league, which he played in his youth before injury forced him out of the game.

In recent seasons he has served the Oldham RL (Past) Players’ Association as secretary and figure-head, forming a formidable double-act with treasurer John Watkins.

John was honoured to be part of the family cortege which, before the service, visited the Etihad Stadium where staff and fans stood to remember their much-loved and highly-respected colleague and friend.

Other members of the Oldham RL (Past) Players’ Association in a packed Church included Ray Hicks, Billy Broomhead, Dave Kenway, Ian Taylor and Bob Henthorn .

Current Oldham RLFC chairman Christopher Hamilton said: “It was a lovely, moving service and a wonderful send-off for Bernard, who was a great guy and a personal friend. City did him proud.”
Also there were a former Oldham chairman John Chadwick and an ex-Oldham, Salford and Huddersfield commercial manager, Ray Hill.

Among the Rochdale Hornets Past Players’ contingent was 82-year-old former Wales and British Lions centre Malcolm Price, who initially came north to sign for Oldham and who, only recently, was installed in Welsh Rugby’s Hall of Fame.

Otherwise, the occasion was like a Who’s Who of football. Current City manager Pep Guardiola was in attendance as were former managers Mark Hughes, Peter Reid, Tony Book and Brian Horton.

All-time City greats Colin Bell, Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee and Vincent Kompany also paid their respects as did many ex-City players including Joe Hart, Paul Dickov, Shaun Goater, Paul Lake, Shay Given, Joey Barton, Alex Williams MBE, Colin Hendry, Dennis Tueart, Peter Barnes, Joe Corrigan and Ian and David Brightwell.

Other well-known sporting figures included former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and current City coach Brian Kidd.

Bernard will be sorely missed, not only by football and Manchester City but by lots of sports people in and around Oldham and particularly by Chris Hamilton and by the small band of enthusiasts who battle to keep the flag flying for the Oldham (Past) Players’ Association.

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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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