The name and legacy of hugely-loved and widely-respected rugby league administrator, Harry Jepson OBE, will continue with the setting up of a Foundation in his name.
Hunslet-born Harry Jepson, who passed away last August, aged 96, devoted his life to rugby league and to education, and for his services to them he was awarded both a Queen’s honour and an honorary doctorate. The Harry Jepson Foundation is intended, by his grandchildren, to reflect his service to those causes, to protect and perpetuate his name, and to enable his unique collection of memorabilia to be preserved and displayed.
The Foundation’s first chairman, grandson Phil Jepson explained. “Since our grandad’s passing there has been a huge void in our lives,” he said. “We began to consider how best to create a sustainable legacy for Harry, one that would enshrine his values and his passions – for rugby, for education and learning, and in particular for France and for rugby league there.
“Our aim (through the Foundation) is to support the rugby league development of youngsters both by providing opportunities, and by fostering closer relations with – for a start – the French Rugby League Federation, enabling their schools to tour here and vice versa.”
Harry’s granddaughter Vicky, secretary and treasurer of the HJF, added: “Harry was passionate about education and gave opportunities to so many children throughout his long teaching career. It is one reson why he is so fondly remembered by so many. It wasn’t just rugby league; reading and writing were equally important to him, if not more so, and with the assistance of Leeds’ schools we will be looking at ways to promote those things, and reward achievement in them.”
Also as part of the Foundation’s work, the Harry Jepson Trophy, contested by community rugby league clubs in development areas since 1998, will be given a higher profile by being staged in future at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium – a curtain-raiser to a Leeds Rhinos Super League fixture. Similarly, the Foundation will ensure continuation of the Harry Jepson Memorial Cup, which is contested annually between Harry’s two great rugby league club passions – Leeds and Hunslet.
Appropriately, the Foundation will be formally launched at Headingley Carnegie Stadium during the Leeds Rhinos v Catalan Dragons Super League fixture, with a parade of school children at half-time including children from Cottingley, where Harry taught.
Further details can be found at the HJF website //harryjepsonfoundation.org/ which also carries details of Harry’s life, and a link for donations towards the bursaries that will be established in his name.