A WARRINGTON Wolves fan, who says his history has been steeped in rugby league, has spoken of his delight after being awarded an OBE.
Former Lymm Grammar, now Lymm High pupil, Martin Coyd said it was ‘purgatory’ keeping the news quiet after receiving the letter telling him he had been recognised in November.
The Stockton Heath-born father-of-three was honoured in the Queen’s New Year’s list after playing a leading role in the development of wheelchair rugby league and also establishing rugby league as an official sport within the British Armed Forces.
The 49-year-old, who joined the army when he was 18-years-old, said: “I was so surprised as it’s not the sort of thing that happens to a lad from Warrington.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting it and I’ve been pretty humbled by it all and still trying to get my head round it.
“To get the award at the beginning of the 20th anniversary year of army rugby league is also something I’m proud of.”
Growing up watching his heroes play at Wilderspool Causeway while he also played at Bank Park with Jim Challinor, Martin admits he used to sneak off to play rugby league when he first joined the army.
In 2000 he moved to Kent and helped set up the Medway Dragons club in Gillingham while he is also the chairman of London Rugby League Youth and manager of the England rugby league wheelchair team.
The regional head of health and safety at Lend Lease added: “I was determined Medway Dragons would provide opportunities for everybody to play.
“Rugby league is a pretty special sport and both my grandfathers played for town teams so both parents’ families were steeped in rugby league.
“The club I run now has 13 teams in total and wheelchair rugby is really important to what we do.”
Nigel Wood, RFL chief executive, added Martin had been a ‘true pioneer’ of rugby league and his honour was ‘richly deserved for the outstanding and unstinting dedication he had shown over so many years’.