IT is with great sadness that the amateur rugby league community heard of the passing of Harold Swift.
His long service, since joining the Blackbrook club as a 26-year-old player in 1953, culminated in his award of the MBE in the Queens’ Birthday Honours for services to amateur Rugby League in St Helens.
Harold played for the club until he was in his late thirties. As Chairman he was instrumental in up-grading the facilities of the Blackbrook club into some of the best in amateur rugby league, including the provision of teams at junior, youth and open age levels.
The club has also provided a conveyor-belt of talent for the local professional clubs, including three Men of Steel winners who have played for the Saints – Paul Wellens, James Roby and James Graham.
Harold was also coach to the BARLA Great Britain team and Manager of the famous pioneering tour to Papua New Guinea in 1978. His other achievements include holding the positions of Chairman of the BARLA Open Age Development Committee, Lancashire County and the St Helens League. On the award of his MBE, Rugby League Chief Executive Richard Lewis echoed the congratulations of many when he described him as part of the ‘bedrock of our great game,’ recognising his contribution to grassroots rugby league over the years.
It is fitting too that Harold’s grandson, Adam has just made the breakthrough into the Saints’ First Team.
It is clear that Harold’s legacy is clearly immense and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Mavis and family.