IT was with great pleasure and surprise that Brian Hinchcliffe received the Clubman of the Year award from his Rangers colleague and friend Jeff Greenwood.
The award was presented at the annual Halifax and District ARL awards.
At 74, Brian has been involved with the club for nearly 40 years and currently looks after the kit, ensuring it is clean and all there on match days for the open age side and he also runs the touchline when called upon. Brian is assisted by his brother Melvin along with Jeff.
Born on Birds Royd, Brighouse, and partially deaf, Brian left the town to attend Doncaster Deaf School and it was on his return to Brighouse that he took up rugby league, starting off on the wing and finishing up as prop.
Brian has played every position except scrum-half.
“It was when I returned to Brighouse that I took up the sport, starting off at Stoney Lane, Lightcliffe.
“From there I went to Brighouse, then Rastrick followed by stints at West Bowling, Greetland All Rounders, Moldgreen, back to Rastrick and finally settling at Brighouse,” said Brian.
“Being deaf has never really got in the way. I am okay on the phone and watching television and, of course, speak sign language although depending on the area it is in slang.
“It is outside where I tend struggle, competing with other noises so I have to lip read,” said Brian.
He has been married to Jennifer for 52 years, and living in Rastrick.
She is a keen bowler with Rastrick Bowling and Social Club and they have two children, Susan and David.
Brian is very much looking forward to the start of the new season.
“The lads have just reported back for training and I will pop down to see how things are going, and, of course I will be there on a Saturday for the home games.
“Plus I also like to pop down to the club on a Sunday lunchtime as it is a nice chance to just be with the team and supporters on a social level.
“I have always enjoyed playing and looking after the players in general, but never fancied coaching. It is something I have never looked at.
Getting the award earlier this month was a very nice suprise and I am very grateful to everyone who put me forward and to also receive it from Jeff was special.
“I will be taking the award down to the clubhouse to put in the trophy cabinet there.
“Unfortunately, I don’t get to keep it, it goes back every 12 months, but I have a nice little collection at home of medals that I have won over the years to look back on,” said Brian.