Mally Waite, one of the original members who built the East Leeds community rugby league club, working as coach and chairman, and was there again to steer the ship and help rebuild the new Easy Road facilities, has been honoured by becoming the second recipient of the ‘John Holmes Award.’
The presentation, made by John’s elder brother Brian, was the climax to the annual ‘City of Leeds Celebration of Rugby League Dinner’ hosted by the Leeds Rugby Foundation.
Over 320 people packed into the Long Bar at Headingley Carnegie Stadium with all strands of the sport represented.
Pupils from three Leeds schools – Priesthorpe (Year 9), Temple Moor (Year 8) and the South Leeds Academy (Year 7) who have reached their respective Champion Schools Finals were interviewed on stage by Leeds Rugby Chief Executive Gary Hetherington and received tumultuous applause for their achievements.
South Leeds will play in the Steven Mullaney Memorial match at Wembley Stadium in their decider, as a curtain raiser to this year’s Challenge Cup Final on Saturday 27th August.
Long serving Leeds and District Official Bernard Shooman was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by previous recipient Paul Daley.
The evening, at which Rhinos Head Coach Brian McDermott and player Jamie Jones-Buchanan were guests and undertook a highly entertaining question and answer session, ended with the John Holmes award which included a specially commissioned trophy by Berry’s Jewellers, a TW Steel watch and £1,000 worth of kit for the club of the winner donated by Stag.
The award was collected by Peter Longbottom on behalf Mally Waite who is currently on a work secondment in America as a consultant engineer.
Speaking from the States, Waite said, “What a tremendous honour it is for me to accept this award on behalf of the club and everyone who works so hard there.”
“Even being nominated is astonishing so to actually receive it is wonderful especially because it carries the name of John Holmes. We at East Leeds have connections with the Holmes family, his brother Phil coached here and his nephews played for us so to receive this is an added pleasure.”
“I wish I could have been there on the night,” he added. “But I must thank those who nominated me and the others on the short list. I feel privileged to have been selected because I know how much work they and so many others have put into the sport in the city.”