Harold - The Family Man For the
Family Game

A sudden illness on the evening prior an investiture at Buckingham Palace robbed BARLA and Blackbrook ARLFC stalwart Harold Swift from receiving his MBE from Prince Charles.

His proud family wanting to make the day a special occasion had flown down with Harold and his wife Mavis to Heathrow and then hired a stretch limousine to take all twelve of them to the plush Reubens at the Palace hotel ahead of the big day.

However, the Blackbrook and Lancashire County chairman, a founder voluntary member of the BARLA management board for 32 years, was taken ill with a violent stomach disorder and taken immediately to St Thomas?s Hospital, Westminster.

Doctors there ruled out a 10am appointment with 105 more inductees at the Palace.

The family then set about contacting the palace and for awhile apparently his name was being paged but once they got through the Palace staff were very reassuring and helpful.

They say now a new date will be fixed up for Harold in new year when hopefully he will be fit and well again.

His close family of sons Alan, Colin and Gary plus daughters Diane and Gillian, the latter a nurse, all went down and made sure their mum and dad had the best, even being in the top room in the hotel, the Henry VIII suite.

Before their dad was fit to travel north over the weekend they presented him with a golden Tissot watch with the inscription on it of, ?You are our Man of the Match.

The 71-year-old was the first BARLA GB overseas tour manager taking the team to Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. Further tests on him will be carried out at a St Helens hospital.

BARLA Chairman Maurice Oldroyd concluded by saying, ?Harold has proven to be the idea role model of ?the family man, for the family game?. It is people like Harold at amateur grassroots level that are the foundation of our great game, as the volunteer is indeed for all British sport. A succinct point, emphasised and repeated on their travels by the Minister of Sport Richard Caborn and Sport England Chief Executive Roger Draper