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Long-serving fan Jim Hallas dies, aged 89

IT is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Jim Hallas, a loyal fan who had supported Oldham Rugby for more than 80 years. He was 89.

Until a month ago, and despite his age, Jim watched every game home and away and even did ‘over-nighters’ this season to Whitehaven and Newcastle with his regular travelling companions and fellow fans.

“In terms of giving lifelong support — real support — to his beloved Roughyeds, Jim put a lot of younger, so-called fans to shame,”

said fellow supporter Brian Larrard.

“Not for him the old excuses for not going to matches. Jim was always there, home and away, until he started being ill about a month ago.

“For 89, he was an amazing man. Roughyeds meant the world to him and he would never think twice about going to the game, no matter how far we had to travel.

“He loved to be part of the group — and our group will miss him a lot I’ll tell you.”

Jim died in the Royal Oldham Hospital last Sunday after a short illness. His wife died in 2012 and he leaves a daughter, Gwendolen.

As a small boy, the family lived on Ripponden Road and his passion for his home-town rugby league club developed from the excitement he would get at watching from the front window as coaches and buses carried thousands of fans to Watersheddings.

He was allowed to go to his first match aged about eight — and he was just as keen throughout his life and until his dying day.

His daughter said he was as proud as punch last season when he was featured by Dave Naylor in a match-day programme as ‘fan of the week’.

In his younger life he ran marathons, including the New York run, and he was a trombonist of some repute, playing in local bands.

He gave up banding for many years but took up the trombone again relatively recently and started playing for Dobcross Brass Monkeys, a feeder band for the well-known and accomplished Dobcross Band. Age was never a barrier for Jim Hallas.

Recalled Gwendolene: “His Mum had a lot of illness when he was a young chap and it was about then that he gave up his pipe and started running — a decision that perhaps had a lot to do with the fact that he had such a lot of stamina until just few weeks before he died.

“My Mum used to tell me that, in the early years of their marriage, she made a point of finding out the final score before Dad got home from games and if Oldham had lost she would wrap black cotton around the knifes and forks at tea time. That was how much Oldham Rugby meant to him.”

Funeral arrangements will be posted on this website as soon as they are known.

The sincere condolences of all at the club go to Gwendolene and the extended family.

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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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