Batley Bulldogs have paid tribute to former Ashes and Challenge Cup Final official Bill Blunden after he has sadly passed away.
They made the following tribute:
“We’re incredibly sad to hear of the passing of a brilliant friend of the club & outstanding match official Bill Blunden.
“He officiated at the highest level covering Challenge Cup finals and Ashes tests, and was an inspiration to many.
“God Bless you Billy. You will be missed.”
It’s been a sad week for rugby league after the passing of fellow official Fred Lindop.
Born in Wakefield in 1938, he refereed in both rugby league and rugby union.
He took charge of 22 test matches including the 1970 World Cup Final as well as five Challenge Cup Finals.
He was also the first official to take charge of a match in Russia.
In 1989 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the sport and in 2009 was inducted in the Rugby Football League’s Roll of Honour in 2009.
Remarkably, he also helped establish the University of Sheffield’s rugby league team a year before officiating in a World Cup Final: 1969.
He did some coaching as well developing players at Eastmoor in Wakefield and Oulton Raiders in Leeds.
He passed away this morning and the RFL referees twitter page has paid tribute:
@RFLReferees are saddened to hear of the passing of former Referee Fred Lindop MBE. A Grade One referee from 1967-88 he refereed the 1970 World Cup Final and 5 Challenge Cup Finals to name a few. He will be remembered as one of the greatest ever Rugby League officials. RIP Fred. pic.twitter.com/WpqZG8pFuT
— RFL Referees (@RFLReferees) January 23, 2023
Last week there the news of the sad passing of David Oxley CBE was also confirmed. He died at the age of 85, and sends condolences to his family and friends.
David joined the RFL in 1974, when the sport was at a low ebb, and led its modernisation and transformation before leaving in 1992 at the compulsory retirement age of 55.
He remained closely involved, and was appointed to the ceremonial role of President for 2013-14, a period which included the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Simon Johnson, the RFL Chair, said: “David Oxley was a hugely significant off-field figure in the history of the Rugby Football League and the sport of Rugby League in this country, and as Chair of the RFL I send deepest condolences to his family and many friends, inside and outside the sport.
“It is a remarkable tribute to David’s personality that despite holding the position of Chief Executive for a long period, and taking many tough and important decisions, he remained such a popular and respected man – and also an outstanding ambassador for Rugby League in the corridors of power.
“All now involved with the RFL recognise our debt to those who have gone before us, and David Oxley will always be remembered for his contribution to the sport.”