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Honor James

PRLG media release: Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract

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The Parliamentary Rugby League Group has received the sad news that that its President, Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract has passed away, aged 86.

Known to all as Geoff, he served as the MP for Pontefract and Castleford from 1978 to 1997, and as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons from 1992. He was one of the founding Members of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group and for many years served as its Chairman before becoming President in 2011.

On hearing the news, Group Chairman Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland said “we in the Group will remember Geoff for his passion for the sport he loved and the communities it supports, excites and serves. His own service to rugby league within Parliament and outside cannot be easily conveyed, so profound are the ramifications of his perseverance in changing the nature of professionalism across all sports. He challenged much on behalf of the sport and we and the wider rugby league community owe a profound debt of gratitude for all that that he did.

“We believe him to be the only Member of Parliament to have played rugby league at professional level. We know him also as a stalwart of the amateur game, and his role within BARLA similarly cannot be underestimated.

“Every year, the Group awards an honour to an individual who it feels has provided outstanding services to the sport of rugby league. I feel one of the most fitting ways we can ensure Geoff remains a focus for Members of Parliament

is to rename the award to something befitting Geoff’s service.”

On behalf of the Group, Mulholland has today written to Lord Lofthouse’s daughter. The funeral is being held at All Saints in Pontefract at 1415 on 8th November.

-ENDS-

Mark Ramsdale

PRLG media

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The RFL has paid tribute to Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract, the President of the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group, who has died after a short illness. He was 86.

Lord Lofthouse, who was MP for Pontefract and Castleford between 1978 and 1997, was a great supporter of the sport in both the House of Commons and House of Lords after receiving his life peerage in 1997.

"On behalf of the RFL I would like to extend my sympathies to the family of Lord Lofthouse at this sad time," said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.

"Lord Lofthouse championed the sport in Westminster all through his political life and Rugby League owes a great debt to him for all his unstinting work on our behalf.

"He was a strong figure in the process which brought the RFL and BARLA together in 2003 to create a single governing body, as a result of which Rugby League has been able to continue to grow in strength."

-ends-

John Ledger

Communications Manager

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LORD LOFTHOUSE OF PONTEFRACT’S PASSING

BARLA are saddened after hearing the sad news of the passing of Lord Geoffrey Lofthouse of Pontefract, former MP for Castleford and Featherstone, aged 86yrs.

Geoff as he was known to many within BARLA, the House of Lords and Commons was a Life Member of BARLA and also President of the Association before standing down, a great supporter and champion of the amateur and professional game throughout his political career, a man of strong principles.

(continues)

For full text of the media release contact:

Steve Manning

BARLA Media Manager

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