RON GIRVIN, secretary of the North West Counties League for the past 34 years, and now president of North West Rugby, has been given one of the Rugby Football League’s most prestigious awards.
The Widnes-born administrator, now living in UpHolland, has been enrolled on to the RFL Roll of Honour at a ceremony during the British RL Lions Association luncheon at Bradford.
Having been born just 50 yards from Naughton Park in 1938, he was introduced to rugby league by his grandfather and the legendary Widnes scrum half Tommy McCue at the end of the war. Ron has been associated with the game as supporter, journalist, covering both the professional and amateur game for over 40 years, and administrator ever since.
Unable to play RL at school because of a serious illness, he was cleared to play union in the Forces but his link with amateur RL began when he was a junior reporter with the Widnes Guardian in 1956 – no longer in existence – and Warrington Guardian. He moved on to the Evening Post and Chronicle, where he was sports editor for 20 years before joining the Manchester Evening News.
It was at the Evening Post that he began his link with the North West Counties League as secretary after the league had had four secretaries in six years. He was then asked in 1994 to become the first secretary for the newly-formed National Conference League while still secretary of the NWCL.
Ron has won numerous awards including BARLA Silver Boot, Tom Keaveney Trophy – the only one to win it twice – and a BARLA life member honour. He also qualified as an RFL coach back in the 70s after being persuaded to take up the role by the late Mick Naughton after son Ian joined Widnes Tigers.
With wife Jean, and sons Ian and Neil, the family have more than 100 years service to NW Counties in a variety of roles. Neil now works for the RFL.
Ron joins three former Widnes stalwarts Frank Myler, Tommy Sale and Ray French on the honours board at Red Hall.
Two other recipients of the prestigious award at the luncheon were Natalie Gilmour and Huddersfield Giants stalwart Keith Burhouse.
Natalie has been instrumental in the role of developing women’s Rugby League and has had a 15-year international playing career.
Keith has had links going back 30 years with Huddersfield to the old Fartown ground.
RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “I would like to thank Ron, Natalie and Keith on their deserved induction on to the Roll of Honour. The important contribution these three people have made has had a profound effect on the game.”