Tributes paid to local rugby league legend

TRIBUTES have been paid to Nigel Hollingsworth, a legendary figure in local rugby league circles, who has died at the age of 73.

Nigel, who had been a resident of Treetops Nursing Home, Oldham, passed away at the Royal Oldham Hospital on Thursday, January 16.

He had been a leading administrator in the sport, as ex-secretary and treasurer of the Oldham Amateur Rugby League (OARL) which he served for more than 25 years.

Nigel was also a former secretary and a board member of BARLA (British Amateur Rugby League Association).

Anita Halliwell, chair of the OARL and a board member of BARLA, said: “Nigel was an excellent secretary, well thought of and hard-working and always keen to help the sport develop.

“He was the mainstay of the Standard Cup, which he ran successfully. He set up the template and the format he devised is still used to this day.”

Nigel was also instrumental in moving finals day for the Standard Cup to Oldham Rugby Union Club, which remains its current base.

Phil Bradbury, who succeeded Nigel as secretary of the OARL 10 years ago, added: “I have known Nigel, who was a good friend, for more than 40 years.

“When I took over from him as secretary, he greatly assisted me. If there was any information I didn’t have, you could guarantee Nigel had it and he was always helpful. His passing is a sad loss.”

Phil, who had been secretary of the local rugby referees’ society, added he and Nigel worked together for more than 30 years in their respective roles.

Nigel also had connections at Waterhead Warriors, where his wife Dorothy had an administrative role and where his son Alan once played.

And in his latter years, Nigel was a regular at Oldham RUFC, where Alan is head groundsman, as he also appreciated the 15-man game.

Nigel was Oldham born and bred and as youngster played cricket and later became an umpire.

He had a variety of jobs including running a general store on Hollins Road, forecourt manager at Borough Garage, transport manager at both Dronsfields and Allied A Cabin.

Nigel leaves wife Dorothy, sons Alan and Scott, daughter-in-law Alison and granddaughter Isabel.

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