19th June 2019, 11:59 | rlwc2021
One lucky dad had a Father’s Day to remember this year as he was given the prestigious Rugby League World Cup Trophy for the day!
In 2021, the Rugby League World Cup will be coming to England, where 32 teams across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair events will compete at the sport’s most prestigious tournament. While the competing nations in the men’s event will have to battle it out to see who will raise the famous Paul Barrière Trophy, the organisers gave one lucky dad the chance to lift the trophy long before the final whistle is blown.
Tournament organisers ran a competition asking fans to nominate a rugby league fan who deserved a once in a lifetime treat this Father’s Day, and one family got just that on Sunday.
The winning entry came from Julia Lippitt in Settle, North Yorkshire, who nominated her husband on behalf of her children. She wanted to surprise him and say a big thank you for everything he does for the family and being the kids’ very own superhero. The family hosted a special picnic with the famous trophy.
The lucky dad, Stephen Lippitt, spoke about the experience;
“It was so surreal having the trophy in our house and an experience we will never forget as a family. Everyone had an amazing day and we just want to say a huge thank you to the Rugby League World Cup organisers for such a special surprise! The kids haven’t stopped speaking about the day and I’m sure they will never forget it. We’re already excited for the tournament to kick-off in 2021 and will definitely be going along to watch some of the games.”
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021 commented: “We are delighted to have been able to provide the family with this very special and memorable experience.”
“Not many people are lucky enough to ever see such a prestigious trophy, let alone have it in their home for a day, so we are glad we could make a deserving dad’s dream come true. It was especially brilliant to see how excited the children were and hear how much they are looking forward to the tournament. Hopefully it will inspire them to be the next generation of rugby league stars!””
The history of the Paul Barrière Trophy is an incredible one. Originally commissioned in 1954, it was used in four tournaments, before being stolen whilst on display at a Bradford hotel during the competition in 1970. The trophy was found in 1990 by Bradford resident Stephen Uttley and his wife Elizabeth in a ditch near a rugby club in Bingley, West Yorkshire. However, missing from the top of the trophy was the crowning jewel, the golden cockerel.
While the trophy has remained intact - and has since been fitted with a state-of-the-art GPS tracker, ensuring that history does not repeat itself - the whereabouts of the cockerel has remained a mystery. In preparation for welcoming the tournament back to England in 2021, RLWC2021 commissioned a new and improved cockerel to be created and returned it to its rightful place atop of the prestigious trophy, restoring it to its former, magnificent glory.