Quarterly meeting of the sport’s chaplains

Date published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

OLDHAM RL Club hosted a quarterly meeting of the sport’s chaplains, headed by Richard Gamble, chief executive of Sports Chaplaincy UK and chaplain of Leicester City FC.

Thirteen rugby league club chaplains, including the Roughyeds’ Rev. Tony Ford, met at the Whitebank Stadium at the invitation of club chairman Chris Hamilton, who talked for half an hour about the club, the ground and its “trials and tribulations.”

Several Super League clubs were represented as well as Championships clubs Oldham, North Wales Crusaders, Workington Town, Sheffield Eagles and Featherstone Rovers.

Also there was Manchester United chaplain John Boyers, who set up the national sports chaplaincy 20 years ago, then known as Score.

Said Mr Hamilton: “We were delighted to invite the chaplains to Whitebank . . . Tony wanted his Super League colleagues to see how the other half lived.

“It also gave me an opportunity to talk about the club but, just as importantly, to underline the importance of the role Tony plays here as part of his chaplaincy.”

A lifelong Oldham rugby fan, the Rev Ford was at Christ Church, Chadderton before moving to St Mary’s, Balderstone, Rochdale a year ago.

He said: “It was an excellent meeting and I was able to tell my colleagues from other clubs how much I am made to feel part of the backroom team at Whitebank.

“For that I have to thank Chris, head coach Tony Benson and the other coaches, who go out of their way to welcome me as one of the lads.”