On Sunday October 13 the original Rugby League World Cup trophy will go back on public display at the Midland Hotel in Bradford, from where it was famously stolen, over 40 years ago, on the night of Sunday, November 1 1970.
RFL Historian Tony Collins commented: “The disappearance for 20 years of the Rugby League World Cup trophy is one of the great sporting mysteries but fortunately it is one with a happy ending and it will be a little slice of sporting history when it re-appears in the lobby at the Midland Hotel in Bradford”
The Rugby League World Cup was on open display at the hotel, Australian team base for the Rugby League World Cup 1970. The Australians were the holders of the trophy having won it at the previous World Cup in 1968.
After that November night in 1970, the trophy disappeared without trace for 20 years. Speaking on its return, RFL spokesman David Howes commented: “It is like the return of the Holy Grail. No-one knows what its value is, but in Rugby League terms it is priceless.”
It was finally found among rubbish dumped in a ditch near the Bradford and Bingley Rugby League Club, in Bingley. The finder was local Bradford man, Roger Uttley, who made persistent enquires to re-unite the trophy with its correct owners, and was finally able to present officials of the Rugby Football League with the 61cm high, silver-plated trophy on June 1 1990.
The General Manager of the Midland Hotel, Gary Peacock said: “We look forward to welcoming back the magnificent Rugby League World Cup trophy to the Midland Hotel over 40 years after it checked out unnoticed. I can assure everyone that we will not be taking our eyes off it throughout its stay.”
The trophy will be on display in the lobby at the Midland Hotel, Bradford from 11.00am until 1.00pm on Sunday October 13 and members of the public are welcome to come along and take photographs. This will be one of its last appearances before Rugby League World Cup 2013 kicks off on October 26, with a spectacular Opening Ceremomny and double header of matches featuring England against Australia, and Wales v Italy, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
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