Bradford Bulls’ tribute to ‘inspirational’ Rycroft at Barrow Raiders clash

RUGBY League fans are uniting in tribute to a lifelong Bradford Bulls supporter’s son who died at the age of 16 months in June.

Rycroft Alport Foster is being remembered at Bradford’s home Championship match against Barrow tonight (Monday, July 31).

He died at Great Ormond Street Hospital following complications from a bone marrow transplant necessitated by the rare genetic condition Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS).

Rycroft’s father Andrew Foster is originally from Bradford but now lives in Wivenhoe, near Colchester.

He and partner Catherine Alport are raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Fox ward, the children’s ward at Colchester Hospital and SDS UK, a charity which supports families who are affected by the condition.

Fans of a variety of clubs have already contributed to a JustGiving page set up by the couple, who described their son as “a smiley, sociable and inspirational little boy who charmed everyone who met him”.

Rycroft was named after his great-grandfather Donald Rycroft Foster, who in 1933 saw Bradford Northern clinch an unexpected 7-5 in over the touring Australians at Birch Lane, where the club played before moving to Odsal.

Fans, who are being urged to wear purple, yellow and green, the colours of Rycroft’s favourite piece of clothing, will applaud and sing in his honour in the 16th minute of tonight’s game.

The Bulls will hold a bucket collection for the three causes, and general manager Tracey Erby said: “Along with the rest of the Rugby League community, we were deeply saddened to learn of Rycroft’s tragic death.”

Andrew Foster said: “I am deeply grateful to everyone at Bradford Bulls for their kindness and consideration of a little boy who never got the chance to come to Odsal.

“This was his club and it is a huge consolation to the family that he will be recognised in this way.”

Play-off chasers Bradford are seeking a seventh win in ten, while Barrow know that ending a losing sequence which stretches back four matches would boost their hopes of escaping relegation.

Bradford 21-man squad: Keven Appo, Joe Arundel, Jason Baitieri, Ben Blackmore, Brad England, George Flanagan Snr, Lee Gaskell, Kieran Gill, Tom Holmes, Billy Jowitt, Michael Lawrence, Jordan Lilley, Masi Matongo, Jayden Myers, Dan Okoro, Dec Patton, Fenton Rogers, Ebon Scurr, James Segeyaro, Jorge Taufua, AJ Wallace.

Barrow 21-man squad: Luke Broadbent, Andrew Bulman, Greg Burke, Brett Carter, Rio Corkill, Luke Cresswell, Zach Eckersley, Charlie Emslie, Ben Evans, Adam Jackson, Ryan Johnston, Danny Langtree, Harvey Makin, Kavan Rothwell, Connor Saunders, Ryan Shaw, Jarrad Stack, Shane Toal, Tom Wilkinson, Josh Wood, Greg Worthington.