An avid fan of rugby league, Roger Ingham says of himself that he owes his very existence to the game. When his Dad went to London in 1937 to watch Keighley at Wembley he first met Roger’s Mother, who was also from Skipton and there to see the coronation decorations.
So it could be said that Roger’s lifelong passion for the game was almost predestined. Despite the fact that Skipton is not, by and large, a rugby league town, his dad was an enthusiast for all sports, not least rugby league; and from when he was born on the 7th March 1944, it was only a matter of time before Roger became involved with the game. Roger remembers clearly the very first rugby league match he went to see – Keighley Vs Salford at the tender age of 6 – and can recount the team that played that day, as well as match highlights, such as the Salford scrum half being ‘sparked out’ and their winger getting crashed into touch in the corner.
Roger has been involved with many sports in and around Yorkshire, including athletics, rugby union and boxing; not to mention his commentaries on the sheep shearing championships at the Great Yorkshire Show. As an athlete, in the 50’s Roger saw many professional rugby players compete at rural sports meetings, but while they preferred the sprints, Roger was a fell runner, winning over 30 races throughout his life. He has also devoted many years to coaching young athletes in the Skipton area.
Also a keen boxer in his younger days, Roger fought for the Halifax town Club, and has since become the chairman of Keighley amateur boxing club. Over the years his involvement in boxing brought him close friendships with professional rugby league greats, such as Trevor Foster. Roger also played Rugby. But, despite his love for Rugby league, he had to play Rugby Union for most of his career, as there was never a club that played the 13 a side code in the Skipton area. His commitment and enthusiasm is encapsulated in a profile on the Grasmere Sports and Show website, ( http://grasmeresportsandshow.co.uk/Bill-Smith-Roger-Ingham-1.htm ) which explains
Perhaps nothing better illustrates Roger’s dedication to sport, than one weekend when he boxed at Liverpool on the Friday night, played Rugby Union at Ruthin in North Wales on Saturday and finished 2nd to Tommy Sedgwick in the Scout Scar fell race near Kendal on the Sunday.
His contribution to sport in North Yorkshire has not gone unnoticed. Out of four yearly awards given for Craven ‘Sports personality of the year’ during the late seventies, Roger won two, and in 1985 the Lord Mayor of Leeds gave him a special award ‘for services to Yorkshire, its image and its people’, one of only 6 men to be given such an award. Roger also received a prestigious award from the North of England Athletics Association in 2002, for ‘outstanding services to athletics’. In 2005, he won ITV’s ‘Local Hero’ award, and was presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace. His most prized accolade, however, came January 2007 when he was given an MBE for ‘Services to Sport in North Yorkshire’.