Squadron Leader Damian Clayton MBE RAF has been added to the Rugby Football League’s Roll of Honour, ahead of his role in the Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph which has become such a moving part of the sport’s Challenge Cup Finals weekend.
He becomes the 51st member of the Roll of Honour, which was introduced in 2003 to recognise individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the sport across both playing and off-field service.
Sqn Ldr Clayton, who played Community Rugby League for Brighouse Rangers, has played a leading role in the establishment and development of Rugby League in the Armed Forces over the last three decades.
He captained the RAF team from 1994 to 2006, and coached the UK Armed Forces at the 2017 World Cup in Australia, and has been the Armed Forces representative on the Community Board since its creation in 2006.
His contribution to Rugby League has included numerous official ceremonies, for example the Remembrance Day Test against New Zealand at Elland Road in 2018, the England squad’s trip to the War Graves on the Western Front which preceded that series – and a crucial role in re-establishing the tradition of the Service of Remembrance on the eve of the Challenge Cup Final, which dates back to 1930 but was revived in 2014.
He was awarded the MBE in 2002 for services to Rugby League in the Armed Forces.
He has also worked with a number of clubs, and will have a hands-on role this weekend at Wembley in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final as he is an assistant to the Halifax Panthers head coach Simon Grix.
Tony Sutton, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “Damian Clayton has made such a significant contribution to Rugby League over the last three decades that this addition to the Roll of Honour is richly deserved – and I know it will be welcomed by the many people with whom he has worked throughout the sport.”
“It is easy to forget that Rugby League could not be played in the Armed Forces as recently as the early 1990s. Damian was one of a number of key figures in the lifting of the ban, and has gone on to play a major part in the hugely positive impact which the Forces have made on the sport ever since.”
“I’m pleased that we are able to make this announcement ahead of the Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, given Damian’s pivotal role in re-establishing that tradition over the last decade – and it is especially fitting that we do so this year, given his additional role at Wembley on Saturday with Halifax Panthers in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final.”
RFL Roll of Honour
Tommy Sale MBE
Johnny Whiteley MBE
Harold Swift MBE
Bev Risman MBE
Maurice Oldroyd MBE
Ray French MBE
Fred Lindop MBE
Martin Coyd OBE
Jackie Reid MBE
Tim Adams MBE
HH Judge James Spencer
Robert W Stott
Stephen Ball MBE
Emma Rosewarne MBE
Squadron Leader Damian Clayton MBE