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Nathan's new role at Roughyeds

NATHAN Murgatroyd has retired as the man in the Roary costume, after performing brilliantly for about 15 years, and now becomes the Roughyeds’ head of mascot management.

Now aged 27, he has thrilled thousands of youngsters as our loveable lion since he started nervously and with great apprehension as a 12-year-old. But he grew into the job, became a dab hand at it and built a reputation over the years as one of the best mascots not only in rugby league but in sport generally.

“All good things come to an end,” said Nathan. “I’ve worn the costume and done my best for a long time and now it’s time to call it a day and to hand over to another Roary, who, like me, will go from strength to strength. I would like to thank everyone, especially all the children, for being so receptive to me over such a long time.”

Nathan, who knows a bit about mascots, won’t be lost to the club and will now become head of mascot management, leading a team which includes his dad, David Murgatroyd, who doubles up as our official club photographer. He also works for club sponsors Amari Plastics so as club photographer, Amari employee and a man with a big role to play in the life and times of Roary, David is very much an influential figure behind the scenes, as is Nathan, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

Father and son together have been working, on behalf of the club, with Oldham Library and Oldham Gallery for a long time — ever since last year, in fact, when Roary attended their Summer Reading Challenge.

“The relationship with Oldham RLFC and the mascot team was strong from the outset,” recalled Nathan “and it continues to grow.”

Over the years Nathan has become very attached to his Roary costume, which he wore since he was 12, but the relationship with the Gallery was such that it was decided to donate it to them rather than put it in a skip.

Fast forward to this year and fans have seen the new Roary — Nathan’s successor — in a brand-new costume produced by Stockport firm Costumes with Character and funded by Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre.

Added Nathan:

“With a positive reception to the new Roary by children and adults alike, the older, more worn-out costume had clearly to go, like me. It was appropriate we finished together. We had worked together for a few years.”

Nathan was concerned about losing the rich history of the old costume if it was to sit dis-used for it’s foreseeable future so he used his connections and reached out to the Gallery in the hope they could preserve it.

After several months of discussions, Oldham Gallery have now kindly accepted the donation. Nathan, on behalf of Oldham RLFC, has donated the old Roary costume in it’s entirety along with his debut programme from 2008. Oldham Gallery are freezing and storing Roary with hopes for a special display in 2026.

Nathan and the mascot team are eagerly awaiting 2026 to launch a special link-up between the club and Oldham Gallery to celebrate the town’s history.

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