Presidents dinner

Date published: Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LOYALTY, dedication, long service and a steely determination to keep professional rugby league alive in Oldham was rewarded when Christopher Hamilton, our club chairman, was installed as President of the Rugby Football League in the summer of 2009.

To mark the end of his successful year of office and to celebrate Oldham having had its first-ever representative in this role, Oldham Rugby League Football Club (1997) Ltd will hold a formal celebration dinner at the Whitebank Stadium on Thurday, July 8.

Fittingly, it will be the first major social event to be held at the club’s new home and it will be an occasion to remember for all those people, led by Christopher, who have battled to keep the club alive during a nomadic existence spanning 13 years.

Commenting on his year as RFL president, which ends next month, he said: “I have enjoyed it immensely, and I am still enjoying it. There have been obvious highlights, like being presented to the teams on the Wembley pitch before the Carnegie Challenge Cup final and attending all the big games.

“But there is also a more serious side to the Presidency, particularly linked with the work of the RFL Benevolent Fund which does wonderful things to help rugby league people in need such as players who have been seriously injured.”

In his role as President, our club chairman will represent the RFL in Cumbria tomorrow (Thursday) at the funeral of former Workington and Whitehaven player Garry Purdham, who was one of the 12 victims of the shootings in and around Whitehaven last week.

Added Christopher: “It is at times like these that the entire rugby league community rallies round. It makes our sport special. We are very competitive on the field but off it we are like a family in times of trouble.”

Christopher was one of our club’s original four founders in the autumn of 1997 and he is the only one to have had an unbroken association with the club from day one to the present. Sean Whitehead, the other director, has battled side by side with Chris for most of that time, but he did have a spell off the board when he took a step back to concentrate more on his business and his family.

Sean is now back on the board, which has successfully acquired the use of Whitebank Stadium as the club’s first home in the borough after 13 years ‘on the road’.

There are times when Chris admits that he still finds it “somewhat surreal” to be talking of the club’s own ground and own home. He has battled unflinchingly to see his dream come true.

The dinner on July 8 will be a memorable one for everyone with Roughyeds at heart. Chris himself will be the speaker and the event will be hosted by another Oldhamer who has been hugely successful within our sport, Super League referee Ian Smith. The laughs will be provided by comedian Bobby Bender.

Tickets are priced at £250 plus vat for a table of ten or at £25 per person and bookings can be made with the club’s commercial manager Rachael Marsters on 0161 628 3677 or via email to: rachaelorlfc@btconnect.com

This is mixed dinner with a raffle and an auction taking place throughout the evening.

Dress code is lounge suits and the event is timed at 7.00pm for 7.30pm.