Fred Halliwell!

He won £10,000 after being named Betfred’s Rugby League Super Fan of the Year on the day his beloved St Helens beat Salford to be crowned Betfred Super League champions – and that’s only a month after he celebrated his 80th birthday with a surprise party!

Fred, from Oldham, beat nine other finalists (pictured, below) to pick up the cheque from the boss after being chosen as the game’s number one supporter.

And he has no hesitation about where at least half the money is going… to his local Hollinwood Amateur Rugby League Football Club where he has spent his lifetime.

The players can expect a brand new navy blue kit, the ancient tractor used to keep the pitch in good order will be getting much needed new parts and the fund for a new dressing room-kitchen area will be getting a boost.

Fred said last night: “You know how I celebrated winning the £10,000? Well, with all the excitement of the game as well I just got home and fell asleep. With all my efforts over the years down at the club my house has got a bit neglected so I have been told some of the money will be going on decorating and sorting out my steamed-up windows. ”

Betfred boss Fred Done said: “I’m chuffed to bits for Fred. He’s a very worthy winner who is dedicated to grassroots rugby league.”

It was a local newspaper advert that transformed Fred’s life forever.

It was an appeal for players to form a new rugby league club at Hollinwood in Oldham – and an eager Fred thought he would “give it a go”.

He turned up at a pre-designated field in Shaw to meet his new teammates, but was totally dismayed at the way things were shaping up.

Fred recalls the moment he began his love affair with the club at Fields New Road that he’s been with over 40 years as sponge-man, trainer, secretary, treasurer, physio, groundsman, tractor repairer, match day first-aider and clubhouse cleaner.

He said: “I was in my 20s and never liked football… it was playing amateur rugby league and Oldham Roughyeds was my team. Then when I got a bit older I saw the tiny newspaper advert in the now defunct Oldham Chronicle and thought it might be for me.

“When I arrived for my first ever Hollinwood training session with the new team, the lads ran around the field once or twice and then someone said ‘right, let’s get to the pub’. I said no we’re here to train and there is no point going to training and then going to the pub. You can’t play rugby if you don’t train.

“Someone must have agreed with me because they said that I should be trainer from now on – and that’s how it all began.”

Straight-talking Fred, of Brook Lane, Glodwick, Oldham, lost his daughter Janet to a brain haemorrhage 14 years ago at just 42 years old, and son-in-law David to liver disease a year later.

So he and his wife Anita brought up four granddaughters – Logan, 22, Jordan, 27, Bekki, 29 and Lauren, 32 – trying to juggle their commitment to Hollinwood ARLFC with the needs of the girls, all living in their cosy three-bedroom end terraced family home.

The pair maintained their devotion to rugby league throughout.

Read Fred’s full story below

We at Betfred congratulate Fred on his achievement, and thank him for his ultimate dedication to this great sport.

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