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Martin Coyd honoured with Mike Gregory Spirit of Rugby League Award
A CAREER that began on Bank Park under the tuition of Wolves legend Jim Challinor has led to one former Stockton Heath man being honoured in the name of another Warrington great.
Martin Coyd was presented the Mike Gregory Spirit of Rugby League Award during the Rugby League Cares Dinner at the John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield.
The inaugural award was made posthumously in 2010 to former Great Britain and Warrington Wolves captain Gregory, who passed away in 2007, with Coyd, who now lives in Gillingham, the most recent recipient.
“I had no idea they were even presenting the award on the night,” he said. “I am truly humbled and I am trying to get my head around the honour.”
Coyd was a key player in establishing rugby league in the armed forces at a time when union was the only accepted code, presenting and winning a case in the Houses of Parliament.
“When I started playing there wasn’t any junior teams around,” he added. “I used to attend sessions run by Jim Challinor at Bank Park.
“When I joined the army at 18 there was opposition to league, but there were some absolutely brilliant players so it was morally right the people wanting to play should be able to embrace it.
“My time with Army RL and Combined Services RL was one of breaking down barriers, establishing our great sport in a new environment, making friends and earning respect around the UK and the world.”
Coyd founded Medway Dragons RLFC in Gillingham in 2007 and is now the chairman of the London RL and manager of the England Wheelchair RL side.
“Wheelchair Rugby League has given the simplest and strongest pleasures,” he explained. “Seeing people achieve the almost impossible, playing our game with the same courage and spirit which the running game is renowned for.
“The Wheelchair World Cup was on at the same time as the Army World Cup, I nipped across to Colchester for the day and was very proud to see it going so strong – there was some serious rugby league being played.
“For Medway I see 20 years as a short time, but we have already grown so quickly and become part of the community.
“This recognition is really for all of those people I have met, worked with and shared a love of Rugby League, those who have worked hard to create opportunities, smiled in adversity and just got on with making a difference.”
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