7th April 2020, 13:14 | therfl
The Rugby Football League today pays tribute to Ron Girvin (left of photo), an unsung hero of the sport who died last night following a short illness.
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “Ron made an outstanding contribution to the community game over decades, as was recognised by his addition to the RFL Roll of Honour in 2014. On behalf of the RFL and the sport, we send our condolences and sympathy to his family and friends – and our appreciation for his life.”
The following tribute has been written by Trevor Hunt of BBC Radio Manchester and the RFL Community Board, who worked closely with Ron for decades, mostly on the National Conference League.
Ron was the first secretary of the National Conference League when it was founded as the Conference League, in 1984, ahead of the inaugural season in 1985/86. He used his incredible organisational abilities to help establish the competition as the flagship of the Amateur game whilst it grew in strength from its original 10 clubs in one division, to become the 49 clubs in four divisions that it is today. In total he served 12 years.
Ron was born in Widnes in 1938, and for almost 30 years of his life had administrated the North West Counties League before taking on the new challenge of the Conference. He has also been the secretary of the Wigan Amateur Football League as well as using his skills to assist in the administration of the Wigan Cricket League. On top of all that he was a qualified Rugby League Coach having operated in that role with Widnes Tigers in the 1970s.
His skills and contribution to Rugby League for over 50 years were recognised with his induction into the Rugby League Roll of Honour in 2014. That award was the latest in a series of honours that had seen him previously be awarded the BARLA Silver Boot and the Tom Keaveney Trophy (twice) for his services, as well as being made a Life Member of that Association.
Firm when he needed to be, but always pragmatic, Ron earned the respect of everyone he worked with in the sporting field as well as in his role as a sports editor on the Wigan Evening Post for 20 years and then the Manchester Evening News, where he covered the professional game for over 40 years. He was meticulous in what he did, and having been around so long he had heard all the excuses and was often amused by the new ones that occasional came his way. To those who knew him and worked with him, he was a good friend, with sound, solid advice and a rock upon which the amateur game both national and locally has been built.
A strong family man he is survived by his wife Jean and sons Neil and Ian, who have also been heavily involved in Rugby League administration.
Ron has touched the lives of so many people during his involvement that pushed seven decades.