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23rd January 2020, 14:52 | rfl

Parliament celebrates Rugby League

Parliament celebrates Rugby League

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Rob Burrow and Gary Hetherington recognised for outstanding contributions

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Rob Burrow and Gary Hetherington were recognised for their outstanding contributions to Rugby League by the game’s All Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster this week.

Sir Lindsay, who was elected Speaker of the House of Commons in November, joined a select group to have received an Outstanding Service award, having worked on behalf of the game in Parliament since he was elected the Labour member for Chorley in 1997 – and before that as chairman of the Chorley Borough club.

He was presented with the award by Judith Cummins, the MP for Bradford South, the Chair of the APPRLG, at the Group’s annual awards dinner on Monday night – the dinner having been deferred from its usual autumn date by the campaigning for December’s General Election.

Sir Lindsay also announced the decision of the Group to award Honorary Life Membership to Rob Burrow and Gary Hetherington.

“Rob Burrow gave so much pleasure and entertainment as a player, in his brilliant career with Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain,” he explained.

“That was why the announcement before Christmas of his diagnosis with motorneurone disease made such an impact – and we want Rob and his family to know that we are right behind them.

“We’ve seen again with the way Leeds have reacted to the announcement that they are an outstanding club, and much of the credit for that should go to Gary Hetherington. So we decided to award Honorary Membership to both Rob and Gary, in recognition of their contribution to Rugby League.”

There was another award for the Rhinos as Courtney Hill, the Australian captain of their Women’s team who won a Challenge Cup and Super League double last season, was named the APPRLG’s Women’s Super League Player of the Year – following in the footsteps of Castleford’s Georgia Roche, who won the inaugural award in 2018.

Jonny Lomax, one of the stars in St Helens’ dominant 2019 Super League campaign in which they won the League Leaders Shield and a first Grand Final since 2014, was named the APPRLG’s Super League Player of the Year.

And Robbie Mulhern, the Hull KR and England Knights forward, spent the day at Westminster before attending the dinner, allowing him to pursue his own interest in politics at the invitation of the RFL and Rugby League Cares.

Tony Adams MBE made his first appearance at the APPRLG, in his role as President of the RFL, and praised the work of the Rugby League Benevolent Fund and Rugby League Cares – whose Welfare Officer, Emma Rosewarne, was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Group in 2018.

A cheque for £1670 was presented to Chris Rostron, the Head of RL Cares, from the APPRLG’s fund-raising on the night – which was hosted by Bramley Buffaloes, who are also members of the APPRLG.