Dewsbury Rams said goodbye to their community coach James Stephenson, who has taken up a similar role with Super League outfit Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Stephenson joined the Rams in 2010 but he has introduced rugby league to over 1,000 school children in the Dewsbury area, while he brought the Play Touch Rugby League programme to the district.
The Touch Rugby scheme is aimed at getting adults playing on a more regular basis and attracted over 300 participants, 140 of those had never played the game before.
Stephenson, son of Dewsbury’s 1973 Championship final winner Nigel, has taken on a community coach role at the Wildcats after funding to Championship clubs was reduced but said he would be sad to leave the Rams.
Stephenson added: “I will continue to support the club and will be watching closely this season.
“I have made some great friends here over the last few years but I am now looking forward to my next chapter as I move to Wakefield and I am excited to be taking on a new challenge at Super League level.
“Last year there was myself, Michael Wainwright and Matty Nicholson. We’ve worked together in the schools and have hit about 1,200 kids in total.
“We have our own project called ‘Get Active with the Rams’. We didn’t get funding for it in 2012, but tried to continue with the project and have held some successful and well attended camps at Tetley’s Stadium.
“That’s targeted towards Primary schools and focuses on teaching kids about the importance of active lifestyles.
“A real highlight would have to be with Earlsheaton Technology College year seven boys team which reached the national quarter-finals of the Champion Schools competition and also Bywell Juniors, whose year five/six team have won the West Yorkshire games for two consecutive years.
“I enjoyed working alongside Warren Jowitt while he was at the club and latterly with Glenn (Morrison) following his appointment but more than anything, I’ll miss working for Dewsbury.
“I would like to reassure supporters that I remain a big fan of the club.”