LIFELONG Oldham RL fan Tracy Bradley

Date published: Monday, September 17, 2012

LIFELONG Oldham RL fan Tracy Bradley was “stunned” and lost for words when told she was the first winner of a new trophy to be awarded annually at the first team’s end-of-season presentation night.Tracy (52), from Lydgate, was named by Roughyeds’ chairman Chris Hamilton as the club’s 2012 Unsung Hero — an award sponsored by Spindles Town Square Shoppng Centre — for her continuing support and devotion to the club despite a personal battle against cancer.
Said Mr Hamilton: “She’s fighting a serious illness and she is on regular chemotherapy, but it hasn’t stopped her giving the club inspirational support all season.
“She’s been at our games, home and away, on grounds as far flung as Cumbria, South Wales and the North-East and she’s also been a regular at our under-18s games and our reserve team matches.
“She rarely misses a club function or the opportunity to support anything we do. She offers her backing to the Roughyeds in many ways, despite her own concerns.
“She is definitely a supporter who puts in the extra mile over and above the call of duty.”
The new trophy, in the form of a model rugby boot that once belonged to the late Fred Laughton, was presented to Tracy by two of her favourite players, loose-forward Alex Thompson and stand-off Jamie Dallimore.
She said later: “I was overwhelmed and unable to say anything. But everybody who knows me won’t need telling that something like this, from Oldham Rugby, means the absolute world to me.
“I’ve been a fan since I was a small girl and I’m just as keen to this day; perhaps more so now because I appreciate all the hard work and devotion that it takes to keep the club’s head above water.”
Roughyeds had the boot mounted and made into a trophy when it was given to them by a friend of the late Fred Laughton, a local school teacher who died a few years ago.
A keen Oldham RL supporter for many years, he was a leading figure in schoolboy rugby league at local, county and national levels and was hugely instrumental in forging the careers of local boys who went on to become, in some instances, internationals and stars of the game.
The friend who acquired the boot kept it for a few years and then gave it to Oldham RL Club because she felt it was where Fred would have liked it to end up.
By creating a trophy and presenting it annually, the club believes it will help to perpetuate the legacy of a man who devoted so much to rugby league in the town.