Project on history of city rugby seeks help

RUGBY league fans are being invited to help put together a grassroots history of the sport in Leeds.

The Leeds Rugby Heritage Project has already discovered over 500 clubs who have participated in or continue to play amateur rugby league in the city and its districts – but the research is just getting going.

The project wants to know more about rugby league in schools, community clubs, works competitions, players and match officials.

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The committee includes Leeds Rhinos president Harry Jepson OBE, former chairman of English Schools RL John Ahm and Les Marshall and Glenn Davies, committee members of the Garry Chappelow Memorial Fund.

Member Bernard Shooman, a former leading referee who is involved in the research, said: “Although we have passed the milestone of 500 teams, we believe that there are still more out there and we appeal to the rugby public of Leeds to pass on any information that they may have relating to clubs from the Leeds and District League.”

Committee man Peter Benson has established the exact date organised community-based rugby was started in the largest city to be involved in the sport from its inception.

“The Leeds and District organisation was formalised when a meeting took place at the Green Dragon Hotel, Leeds on September 27, 1888,” he said. “The foundation clubs were Bramley, Holbeck, Hunslet, Kirkstall, Leeds Parish Church, Leeds St John’s and Wortley.”

“The objectives of these pioneer clubs were to create a fund in order to assist any players of the member clubs who had been seriously injured and the development of the game generally within the borough of Leeds.”

Events for the public to share their memorabilia and memories are being planned. Contact Mr Shooman on 0113 225 0231 ([email protected]) or Mr Benson on 01274 870028 ([email protected])