Rugby league club's posthumous honour for 'selfless' employee who died aged 35

A rugby league club has posthumously honoured a popular employee and “great friend” after his tragic death at 35.
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Andrew Parkinson, who was well-known as the IT manager at Leigh Centurions, died on January 9 after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

The club has now given him life membership for his dedication to Centurions.

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It was proposed by owner Derek Beaumont and agreed unanimously by the non-executive board, before being immediately accepted by Andrew’s family.

Andrew ParkinsonAndrew Parkinson
Andrew Parkinson

He joins his father Fred, who is already a life member.

Andrew will be cremated with a walnut plaque featuring the club’s badge and the words: “Andrew Parkinson 1985-2021. Posthumous Life Membership Award, Leigh Centurions. Our secret weapon, an outstanding, selfless team member, great friend to many. You will never be forgotten. RIP.”

Mr Beaumont said: “This honour would normally be bestowed upon someone towards the end of their contribution to the club, but that isn’t possible in these circumstances.

“Whilst the award is in recognition of Andrew’s actual lifetime contribution to the club, it is also very much in respect of what would have undoubtedly been his lifetime contribution had Covid-19 not taken him from us prematurely.

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“Andrew is fully deserving of this respect from his beloved club, as he was one that put into the club far more than he ever received from it. It was his life, it was his family, it was his job, it was his hobby, it was his true love. The guest list for the restricted ceremony demonstrates this, beyond any doubt.

“Andrew will be respected and honoured by club representatives carrying him during the final stages of his journey to his resting place ahead of the hearing of the eulogy from our chairman, Mike Latham. Andrew will also be respected by the club as he passes by the Leigh Sports Village as part of his final journey.”

He said Andrew’s death had made other people realise the seriousness of coronavirus.

Club chairman Mike Latham said: "“The days since Andrew’s passing have been so difficult for us all, not least his parents Fred and Elaine and brother David. The tributes to Andrew have poured in from those who knew, liked, loved and respected him, from so many connected with Leigh Centurions but also from the wider rugby league community. These, I know, have given the family great comfort at this time.

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“I spoke to Andrew more times over the last 10 years than any other person other than my wife Janet and his passing has left a huge void in my life, as it has for so many others. I’ve been in regular contact with Fred and with other friends and colleagues who are experiencing exactly the same kind of emotions as I am. I’ve found it good to talk and to have an outlet for your feelings and as well as the sadness and huge sense of loss, we have shared some really happy memories and a few laughs at our favourite Andrew stories.”

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