On a poignant day for Rugby League and Cumbria, the RFL salutes the work of Askam ARLFC, and many other community clubs in the county, as they have done their bit to raise funds and maintain morale.
It was on June 2, 2010, that Garry Purdham, the former Whitehaven, Workington and Egremont forward, was one of the 12 who lost their lives in the mass shooting which left such a mark across Cumbria and beyond.
His family has remained in close contact with the Rugby League Benevolent Fund, and on the 10th anniversary of Garry’s death, the RFL sends its best wishes to Garry’s family and friends, and again pays tribute to his life.
In 2020, communities in Cumbria have been especially badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, whether in loss of life, or in the economic fall-out, most obviously with the loss of tourism.
The county’s three professional clubs – Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington – have played leading roles in their communities.
And the same goes for many of the community clubs such as Askam, whose efforts have ranged from a keep fit campaign with the local amateur football club, to the sale of a special NHS-themed jersey, to a baking raffle organised by Danielle Hellon, the wife of their assistant coach.
In total, more than £5,000 has been raised for the NHS, and they haven’t finished yet.
Alan Davidson, the RFL’s Cumbrian development manager, has been working closely with the county’s community clubs, and praised Askam and a number of other clubs for their efforts:
Egremont have been delivering food packages to their local communities and have raised over £1000 for the NHS;
Dalton’s youth team has raised £675 for the local Bay Hospital charity;
Barrow Island have regularly been raising £500 for the Barrow Food Bank with their weekly bonus ball draws;
Walney Central have done a virtual coast to coast run, with well over £2,000 raised for the Bay Hospital;
Cockermouth Titans have been collecting items in a drop box at clubhouse, items of toiletries have been delivered to Cockermouth Community Hospital and other items distributed to the vulnerable in their area;
Wath Brow are part of the Moor Support group delivering food, going shopping and delivering prescriptions to the elderly and vulnerable in their local community, while their Under-13 team have each run 5k to support the NHS;
Kells ARLFC are part of the Kells, Woodhouse, Greenbank COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group delivering prescriptions to the elderly and vulnerable in their local community;
Hensingham’s youth sectionhave delivered hampers including toiletries, arts and craft materials, to The Gables care home situated close to the clubhouse;
Distington have a ‘Friend not Foe’ project, which has included Batman and Spiderman delivering Easter Eggs to children around the village;
And Hindpool, Seaton and Roose Pioneers, as with Askam and many of the other clubs, have been selling club charity tops to raise funds for the NHS.
“In difficult times, Cumbrians pull together,” said Davidson. “So as you’d expect, and as in other parts of the country, our Rugby League clubs have rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.”
For more inspiring stories of clubs and volunteers across the country making a difference in these challenging times, click here.