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ORL Heritage Trust collection to be held at Gallery Oldham

ONE of the best and most extensive collections of club memorabilia in world rugby, either code, was officially handed over to the care of Oldham Council at a function in Gallery Oldham on Saturday.

It was attended by local dignitaries, including the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Ginny Alexander, and her Consort husband Adrian, himself a former Oldham player, as well as local MP Debbie Abrahams, the long-serving chairman of Oldham RLFC, Chris Hamilton, members of the Former Players’ Association and fans.

Pictured above: Councillor Ginny Alexander, the Mayor of Oldham, and her Consort husband Adrian, himself a former Oldham RL player, were guests of honour at Gallery Oldham at a major function organised by Oldham RL Heritage Trust.

Among others in the line-up are Oldham RLFC chairman Chris Hamilton (second left), Martin Murphy, the club’s post-war record holder for most games played (third left)and Mike Turner of the Oldham RL Heritage Trust (tenth left in shirtsleeves).

Picture: David Murgatroyd

<p>
  The magnificent collection of Oldham Rugby shirts, players&#8217; medals and representative caps, trophies, programmes, pictures, newspaper cuttings and other assorted items of memorabilia will be saved. catalogued and periodically exhibited in a professionally organised museum environment.
</p>

<p>
  Since receiving a grant from the national Lottery Fund a year ago to undertake this massive &#8216;Pass It On&#8217; project, Oldham RL Heritage officials and volunteers have been systematically handing over material to the Gallery Oldham professionals.
</p>

<p>
  Saturday&#8217;s launch of the new exhibition coincided with the launch of the <a href="https://orl-heritagetrust.org.uk">ORL Heritage Trust&#8217;s new website</a> which has been built and designed by lifelong fan Dave Naylor, a member of the Roughyeds&#8217; media team.
</p>

<p>
  The Mayor told the gathering of officials, former players and fans:
</p>

<blockquote>
  <p>
    &#8220;It&#8217;s a privilege and an honour to be part of this historical day for the Oldham club. I was introduced to rugby by my husband (former Harlequins RU and Oldham RL forward Adrian Alexander) and now it&#8217;s in my blood as well as his.
  </p>
  
  <p>
    &#8220;We&#8217;ll be present at Oldham&#8217;s games next season whenever we can.&#8221;
  </p>
</blockquote>

<p>
  Lifelong Oldham fan Mike Turner, author, an authority on the club&#8217;s history and the driving force behind Oldham RL Heritage Trust, said: &#8220;It was great to see so many people at the launch.
</p>

<p>
  &#8220;The history of Oldham RLFC is an essential part of the town&#8217;s history and this &#8216;Pass It On&#8217; project will assure our collection of long-term preservation in a professionally maintained museum environment for the benefit of future generations.&#8221;
</p>

<p>
  Among the many former players present at the launch were Martin Murphy and Mike Elliott, the club&#8217;s post-war record holders for most games played.
</p>

<p>
  Full-back Murphy played in 462 games between 1966 and 1982 while Welsh winger Elliott, who hailed from the South Wales pit village of Blaina, made 446 appearances between 1962 and 1979.
</p>

<p>
  Only two players featured in more games in the club&#8217;s 143-year history &#8212;- Joe Ferguson (627 between 1899 and 1923) and Jack Read (463 between 1926 and 1940).
</p>

<p>
  Others with 400-plus games were Fred Ashworth (436) and Tommy Rees (417) pre-war and Harry Ogden (429) and Kevin Taylor (429), post-war.
</p>


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AS lockdown restrictions start to ease, now is the time for everyone connected with Oldham RLFC to do all they can to help with getting income from our Club Cash lottery back to where it was before the pandemic started to bite.

This is vital for the club and its finances which, as you all know, have taken a massive hit in the past 12 months.

Collectors will be returning to door-to-door visits in the next few weeks and we hope people who suspended payments will pick up where they left off as we strive and work hard to get back to where we were before the pandemic caused us to lose 50 per cent of our lottery income.

Many of our regular punters, who would normally pay a collector, have answered our calls for help by finding other ways to pay and to retain their chances of winning prizes.

To those people we are very grateful and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them once again for their loyal and continued support.

The lottery, of course, is potentially one of our biggest fund-raisers and for as little as £1 a week — more if you wish — you can help the club immensely and at the same time have chances to win £1,000, £100, £50, £25 or one of ten consolation prizes of £10.

That’s the present prize structure. There’s every chance it will be increased once we are out of lockdown, door-to-door collections start again and we get back to some sort of normality.

In the meantime you can join, or start up again, by contacting the club on 07904 898177 or by email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

For more information about the lottery, and for the “great opportunities” provided by our partnership with the National Youth and Community Development Association (NYCDA) go our Club Cash page.

There, you will find all the results and a detailed statement about getting back to normal with the help of our not-for-profit partners.

All proceeds from the partnership will continue to support the club and help us to meet the aims of our Club Cash activities, particularly in its aims and objectives to be an active stakeholder in the local community.

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