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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 08:56 GMT
Top RL award for York's Allison
Rugby ball and posts
Spen Allison has served Rugby League for more than 50 years
York's Spen Allison has become the first person from the amateur game to receive the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Committee's merit award.

The BARLA Chairman has served the game for 50 years since a bad injury at 18 seriously hampered his playing career.

He said it was "a complete surprise" when the award was presented to him at the House of Lords dinner.

"I accepted that award on behalf of the amateur game and the volunteers that are there week in week out," he added.

Allison, born in Grimsby, was evacuated to York during the war. "I first got introduced to rugby league when I was 12 years old in the senior school at Scarcroft," he recalls.

He was only 18 when he split his kneecap while playing for the Southlands club on the Knavesmire in York. Unable to play for a long time, he joined the York and District Rugby League management.

He recovered sufficiently to play the game until he was 48 and, at the same time, rose through the administrative ranks.

Finally he became BARLA Chairman in 2005. He has also served as secretary and treasurer for the York Acorn club for nearly 30 years.

"This game has given me so much pleasure," he said."It's made me so many good friends. In this sport you make friends that stop with you for the rest of your life."

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