Birkenshaw Gala to go ahead – in homage to Max

Birkenshaw Bluedogs have confirmed that Saturday’s Gala at East Bierley ground will go ahead as planned, despite the death last Saturday of one of their players, Max Blakeley.

Blakeley, who also played for Cleckheaton RUFC, passed away after complaining of feeling unwell at the Bluedogs’ Yorkshire Men’s League Division Five fixture at Heworth.

The Bradford outfit’s Chairman, Adam Lincoln, said: “We are all incredibly shocked and saddened at the loss of our friend and team-mate, however we strongly believe that Saturday’s event should take place in Max’s honour.

“Max died playing a game he loved, and we believe that he would want the day to go ahead. Coming together on Saturday, as a club and a community, will be a wonderful way to say his name, honour his memory and continue to support all those affected by this tragedy.”

All age groups will be playing during the day and Max will be acknowledged at the start of each game.

There will, in addition, be a Master’s game between Birkenshaw Bluedogs and Cleckheaton RUFC.

The Gala, on Saturday 21 July, will be wound up with a Yorkshire Men’s League game between Birkenshaw Bluedogs and Dewsbury Celtic.

Gates open at 10.00am; the Master’s game will kick off at approximately 2.00pm, followed by the Open Age fixture at 2.30pm.

Proceeds from the day will be donated to either Max’s family, or to a charity of their choice.