Rugby League Cares In St. Helens!

THE marvellous travelling exhibition of Rugby League history is currently ensconced at St. Helens library until February 26.

Rugby League Cares recently won grant funding from the Heritage Lottery fund to ensure that Mike Stephenson’s Rugby League Heritage collection, previously housed at the George Hotel in Huddersfield has been safeguarded and a specially-designed travelling exhibition is touring the country.

The displays include a player’s jersey from the first-ever rugby League Test match and the ball from the famous 1954 Challenge Cup final replay between Warrington and Halifax. The exhibition also tells the story of the game’s split from Rugby Union, the first World Cup, the dreadful banning of our game in France during World War Two and much more.

Saints’ fans of a certain vintage will also be able to spot a superb image of umbrella-wielding Minnie Cotton being led off the pitch at Swinton during the 1966 Challenge Cup semi-final against Dewsbury.

The exhibition was opened by the Mayor of St. Helens Councillor Geoff Pearl and is a superb aperitif before the biggest club game in the history of St. Helens RFC, when South Sydney come to Langtree in front of a full house. Club President Kel Coslett and Geoff Pimblett, who played in the game’s first-ever World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters in 1976 were also present at the opening and were enthralled by the exhibits.

“It’s great for the town to have this exhibition here,” said Kel, “and it really does set up the next few weeks which promises to be some of the most exciting times we have ever had at Saints.”

The exhibition is open during normal library opening times until February 26 and also includes an window display relating to St.Helens R.F.C., including a seat from the former Knowsley Road, Willie Manu’s 2014 playing jersey and various items of ephemera to trigger off many memories of the Greatest Game!

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