9th December 2005 -
One of rugby union's most dedicated and popular workers in Yorkshire and the North this week collected an award from HRH The Princess Royal in recognition of over 50 years of outstanding voluntary service to the sport.
Leslie Bentley from Shipley, known by friends since his playing days as 'Legs", was nominated by the Rugby Football Union for a Torch Trophy Trust award and became only the fourth recipient from the game since the scheme was first set up in 1962.
The awards were presented at a ceremony at the Queen's Club in London on Wednesday.
"The evening was absolutely brilliant, a superb occasion," said Mr Bentley. "The organisation was perfect, the venue was really good, with nothing spared, and having my daughter Rowena and son-in-law Keith to accompany me and my wife Joyce was icing on the cake.
"There were 20 recipients and I followed a lady from equestrianism who had raised �1million for the amateur side of her sport, while there was a real cross section of people involved.
"The Princess Royal also rounded off the formal part of the evening with a perfectly-chosen few words which underlined just how well-informed she is about the work of volunteers and which obviously came from the heart of a true sportswoman."
The Torch Trophy Trust, which has Sir Bobby Charlton CBE as its President, is a charitable organisation which encourages voluntary work in sport and each year presents nominees with a miniature replica of the Olympic Torch after the trust was founded in 1962 by the late Commander Bill Collins, the organiser of the 1948 Olympic Torch Relay from Olympia in Greece to Wembley in London.
The 84-year-old former teacher and textile entrepreneur has been closely involved with the Bradford and Bradford & Bingley club since his playing days, while his wider service to rugby in Yorkshire and the North extends over 33 years of dedicated committee work.
Issued by Tony Simpson, RFU North Press Officer (07764 336708)