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.