The funeral for Brian was duly held on Wednesday October 6th with a service at Holy Trinity Church, Woods Lane, Dobcross, Oldham at 11.30am.
The service was followed by the committal at Oldham Crematorium, Hollinwood at 1pm with an assembly of the mourners back at The White Hart, Lydgate from 1.30pm.
Of course many of Brian’s family and friends were in attendance with the Rugby League community well represented. At the church all of the Heritage Trust trustees were in attendance (Mick Harrop, Tim Hughes, Steve Brown and Michael Turner). “Rugby Oldham” was also well represented with secretary, Ian Wilson giving a thoughtful and sometimes humorous reading bringing to mind Brian’s dealings with the RO organisation.
The Oldham Rugby League club was represented by Roger Halstead who gave the main eulogy on behalf of the Walker family. Roger delivered the piece with style and empathy recalling Brian’s early life and long time association with all things Rugby League in Oldham.
Ray Hicks and John Watkins were there to represent the Oldham ex-players association and Peter Townsend of Saddleworth Rangers was also present with Phil Bradbury representing the Oldham amateur RL at the crematorium.
As would be expected, part of the floral tribute was rugby themed.
I am sure that the thoughts and condolences of everyone associated with Rugby League in Oldham are with Adrian, Charlotte and Oscar at this sad time.
It is with sorrow and regret that the news has been received that our friend and colleague Brian Walker has died after a long illness aged 75. A true Roughyed through and through, his presence in and around all things connected with Oldham RLFC will be sadly missed.
Brian was a founder member and trustee of the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust and a true ‘tour de force’ in his aspirations and accomplishments to help the ORLHT become a leader in the world of sporting heritage organisations. Of course most of this concerned his beloved Oldham RLFC and his enthusiasm and passion to help protect and preserve the collection was boundless and second to none. He would, at the drop of a hat, journey right across the country, north to south and east to west to acquire a cap, shirt, medal or anything else that would add to trust’s impressive collection.
When it was time to bring out one of the Heritage Trust books, it was Brian who would charm, cajole and quite often pursue the sponsors until we had sufficient funds to make them happen. Without his input on this front it is unlikely that many of the publications would have seen the light of day and none of these were better received than Brian’s own “Roughyeds – The Story” which quickly sold out after it was published in 2004.
He was a prime mover in setting up the Heritage Trust Trophy which is presented to the Oldham ‘Player of the Match’ in the Law cup fixture against Rochdale Hornets and indeed Brian presented the trophy to the first recipient Ian Watson, again in 2004.
At the weekend he would, more often than not, be seen at Saddleworth Rangers on Saturday and where ever the Roughyeds were playing on Sunday, almost always accompanied by his wife Anne until she passed away a few years ago.
When it came to Oldham Rugby League, Brian was there. A meeting with the Heritage Trust or Rugby Oldham, or the Oldham council, Brian was there. He was there at the championship victory against Hull at Odsal in 1957 and the heartbreaking challenge cup semi-final defeat to Hull KR in 1964. Pre-season friendlies at Barrow and Whitehaven, World Club Challenge matches in Adelaide and Townsville, Brian was there. From Headingley to Hemel and from Paris to Parkside. Brian was there. Freezing nights at Watersheddings, scorching afternoons at Whitebank. St Helens, Leeds, Wigan, Warrington. Brian was there. Keighley, Rochdale, Workington, Batley. Brian was there. Carlisle, Oxford, London Skolars, North Wales. Brian was there.
May I return to the beginning, a true Roughyed – through and through!
The Oldham RL Heritage Trust were saddened to hear of the death of ex Roughyed, Kevin Flanagan.
The sincere condolences of everyone at the Heritage Trust and the wider Oldham Rugby League community go to Diane, his wife, and the extended Flanagan family. Kevin died at the age of 74 after a 15-month battle with cancer.
A tireless worker in the back row of the forwards, Kevin played in 78 senior games for the Roughyeds, thus following in the footsteps of his father, Bill, a hooker who played for Oldham in the mid-1940s, before moving on to Belle Vue Rangers. Both of Bill’s sons, first Kevin, then Terry, did Oldham proud. Kevin also distinguished himself at Rochdale Hornets and is held in the highest regard at our near neighbours.
Kevin had two spells at Watersheddings in the late 1960s and then the 1970s scoring eight tries and thirteen goals.
Always friendly and on good terms with the trustees of the ORLHT, the game in Oldham has lost a true gentleman.
The Heritage Trust is pleased to announce renewed links with the Oldham Rugby League Ex Players Association.
We believe that viewers of our website include many former “Roughyeds” and the Ex Players Association are always looking to swell their ranks and acquire new members.
Going forward the Heritage Trust will be glad to post news of the ex players functions and events on the website and are sure that the links between the two organisations can only be mutually beneficial.
OLDHAM RUGBY LEAGUE EX PLAYER ASSOCIATION ANNUAL DINNER
Friday 15th October 2021
St Herbert’s Parish Hall, 148 Broadway Chadderton Oldham OL9 0JY.
Speaker: Iestyn Harris – Comedian & compare: John Gillan
£30 (includes 3 Course meal)
Please contact: Joe Warburton: email@example.com 07882848340 or John Watkins: 07974612038