LEIGH Centurions’ Life President Tommy Sale travelled to Buckingham Palace last week where Her Majesty the Queen presented him with his MBE.
Tommy was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list earlier this year for his services to rugby league, much to the delight of Leigh fans who hold him in great affection after years of dedication to the club.
As a youngster, Tommy operated the scoreboard at Leigh’s old Mather Lane ground and he eventually played for his hometown club. After World War II he led the construction work on Leigh’s next home at Hilton Park while still holding down a daytime job and playing.
He also played for Widnes and captained them to a Challenge Cup Final.
Over the years Tommy spent time in most of the administrative roles at Leigh and was instrumental in persuading Alex Murphy to come to the club as player-coach from St Helens, heralding one of the most successful periods in the club’s history including the 1971 Challenge Cup win over Leeds.
He had a stand named after him at Hilton Park and the road on which the Sports Village Stadium stands also bears his name – Sale Way.
He only recently stepped down as the club’s timekeeper but remains a regular face at games and functions at the club.
In recent years, Leigh fans and MP Andy Burnham stepped up the campaign for Tommy to be honoured by the Palace and Mr Burnham was happy to welcome him to the capital.
Leigh Chief Executive Trevor Barton MBE said: “For Tommy to get his honour from the Queen is no less than this great man deserves. All of us here are sure that he and his family have had a wonderful day – he has certainly earned it.”