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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Jackie to take place on Roll of Honour

THE name of Egremont’s Jackie Reid MBE has been added to the Rugby Football League’s Roll of Honour for his long and distinguished service to the game.

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Proud and delighted: Jackie Reid

The award was established several years ago by the RFL Council to acknowledge outstanding service by players and administrators, and Jackie’s excellence spans both the amateur and professional sides of rugby league football.

Now 82 and still travelling the length and breadth of the country as an ambassador for and holding high office in the British Amateur RL Association, Jackie’s playing career began in his home town with Egremont Rangers before turning professional with Whitehaven.

And it was at The Recreation Ground in 1956 that he played his part in helping Whitehaven achieve one of the club’s greatest feats by beating Australia on the Kangaroos tour of that year.

The following season, he was a member of Haven’s illustrious squad which reached the semi-finals of the RL Challenge Cup for the first and only time in the club’s history.

Over the years and to this day, Jackie has devoted considerable time and energy to his roots of junior RL, earning distinction for his work on behalf of BARLA, the British Amateur RL Association.

There have been many memorable moments, notably his management of BARLA Great Britain touring teams to virtually all parts of the RL playing globe.

The letter from RFL chief executive Nigel Wood informing Jackie that the Rugby Football League would like to honour his long and distinguished service to the game came as a Christmas crowning glory.

Says Jackie: “It’s a smashing Christmas present, a very pleasant shock actually. Although I have been in the game a long time, this came right out of the blue.

“I feel very proud, it’s one of those things you are delighted to receive and cherish.

“To be asked to go and be presented with the roll of honour at the British Lions Association next month in the presence of so many rugby league stars and personalities past and present is something special as well.”

Recapping on his RL career, Jackie said: “When I came out of the Forces in 1949, I joined Egremont Rangers and played in the Cumberland amateur side which won the county championship and then for Great Britain in France. Afterwards I signed for Whitehaven and was at The Recre for about 12 years.

“Being in the tremendous side which beat Australia was the biggest highlight for me, not only that but one of the greatest moments of my whole life because very few English club teams can say they beat the Kangaroos.

“I played with and against some of the best players the game has seen, including in my opinion the greatest forward ever, a young lad called Dick Huddart. I was also privileged to be on the same field as all-time greats such as Alex Murphy and Tom Van Vollenhoven.

“I will always cherish being in the 1957 Challenge Cup squad. I remember we went away for a few days to prepare for the semi-final at Bradford. I was on the bench that day as a travelling reserve (there were no subs in those days) only for us to get beaten by a punt and not a drop goal – there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

“Jeff Stevenson never kicked a drop goal before that and never after – but it was Leeds who got to Wembley and not us as we deserved to.

“Anyway, when I retired as a professional (in 1962) I went back to Egremont Rangers where I was both player and coach, then club treasurer for 35 years and I enjoyed every moment of it, helping in no small way to get them their own HQ and with Egremont Cricket Club to buy their own field at Gillfoot Park.”

Today Jackie continues as BARLA’s senior vice president and international chairman, playing a key role in boosting the Association’s profile and helping to spread the junior code.

Internationally, his track record is impressive having managed several Great Britain amateur squads on overseas tours.

“On one tour, three of the prop forwards really stood out and went on to become stars in the game – Paul Anderson, Terry O’Connor and Barrie McDermott. I have always tried to help these kids; this is my big satisfaction.

“I am going to soldier on for as long as I can, I have met some nice people, I’ve been to Russia, America, South Africa twice, Australia, New Zealand and France.”

Much of Jackie’s time is also spent at Copeland Stadium where he is chairman of the Trustees who have developed the stadium into one of the North West’s centres for sporting excellence.

Jackie will be inducted into the Roll of Honour at the British Lions Association ceremony in Bradford on Sunday, January 29.

A former pay office manager at Sellafield, Jackie was also awarded the MBE for his services to the nuclear industry.

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