Annual Past Players Dinner hosted for 2023

Sunday the 9th of July saw our Past Players dinner for 2023 hosted at The Totally Wicked Stadium, with 3 members inducted into the Hall of Fame!

Our Past Players Association each year holds an annual dinner to induct ex-players into the Hall of Fame, celebrate the success of the Saints over the years, along with some of our past players telling some great tales and stories from over the years!

The first inductee of the afternoon was Saints Number 302 George Lewis. George Lewis joined the Saints from Pontypool RU and played for the Saints from 1921 to 1935. George signed with his brother Stan at the same time, with both George and Stan making their Saints debuts against Featherstone on the 25th of March 1922. George was the first Saints player to ever kick a century of goals in the 1926/27 season, he also was the first player to captain the Saints at Wembley in the 1929-30 season, albeit on the losing side as the Saints lost to Widnes 10-3. George was however the captain of the 1931-32 Championship-winning team that defeated Huddersfield. His final match for the Club was against Barrow on the 20th of April, 1936, after which he retired from the game. George still ranks in second place in the Saints’ all-time goal-scoring charts behind Kel Coslett, and fourth on the points-scoring lists behind Kel Coslett, Paul Loughlin, and Austin Rhodes.

George’s family travelled up from Wales to collect the award, as we welcomed them up on stage to be presented with his Hall of Fame plaque. It was a pleasure to welcome the family of George Lewis, and welcome them back to the town that George wrote history in!

The second inducted into the Hall of Fame was Saints number 957 Paul Forber. Paul played for the Saints from 1982 to 1992, playing 11 seasons in the Red-Vee. Paul, who was commonly called ‘Buffa’ by his colleagues, joined the club from St Helens Colts and was a member of the 1985 Premiership Final victory over Hull KR. Paul was a vital member of the Saints during his spell, forming a great relationship with Ex-Kiwi Saints Shane Cooper, who sent a video to our Past Player Association congratulating ‘Buffa’ on his award, whilst also telling a few tales from his time with Paul. Paul was given his Hall of Fame award by his fellow teammates Bernard Dwyer and Paul Loughlin, as they joined Mike Bennett and Tommy Frodsham on stage!

The final initiation of the afternoon went to Saints Number 1117 Ade Gardner. The flying Cumbrian winger joined the Saints from Barrow Border Raiders in October 2001, and in 2003 made himself a Saints first team regular in the Red-Vee. Ade was an influential member of the Saints trebling winning side in 2006, and scored two tries the following year in the World Club Challenge over the Brisbane Broncos as the Saints went on to victory. During his spell at the club as a player, Ade won four Challenge Cup winning medals, a World Club Challenge winning medal and a Grand Final winning ring. After leaving the club on loan in 2014 to Hull KR, Ade retired at the end of the season and took up a role as Strength and Conditioner with the Academy, and was a part of the coaching staff in the un-beaten Academy team in 2016. Ade was awarded his Hall of Fame plaque by Paul Wellens and Paul Clough, two players who were a part of Ade’s Saints Career!

At the end of the evening, our Past Players Association presented the Foundation with a £5000 cheque, as they continue to support the Schools Finals. Our Past Players support continues to allow us to improve and strengthen the work we do, and support the Foundation as a whole. The Past Players Association presented the cheque to our Community Clubs ambassador Billy Dillon, who was a part of the Saints Community Development Foundation table for the dinner.

As always, our Past Players Dinner wouldn’t be the same without the work from our Director Steve Leonard whose work behind the scenes ensures we have a great afternoon that is enjoyed by all our attending Past Players, as well as our Hall of Fame inductees. We can’t wait for next years dinner!

You can view a gallery from the evening here!