The Parliamentary Rugby League Group is to recognise the services of its late former chairman and president – Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract – with an annual award in his name.
Lord Lofthouse, who died last November aged 86, was a passionate rugby league supporter and played professionally for Featherstone Rovers in his youth.
The former Pontefract and Castleford MP and Deputy House of Commons Speaker was one of the founding members of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group.
The group is to split its annual award for service to rugby league by creating the Geoff Lofthouse Award and the Outstanding Service Award.
At the group’s annual dinner next Tuesday, the first Geoff Lofthouse Award will be presented to an individual who has provided long-term and sustained support to rugby league at a high level.
Members of Parliament who have demonstrated sustained support for rugby league in Westminster will receive the Group’s Outstanding Service Award.
The awards will be made by group chairman, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland. Lord Lofthouse’s family are also set to attend the ceremony.
Mr Mulholland said: “Geoff provided tireless support to rugby league over the years he was an MP and a Peer.
He is the only politician in Parliament to have ever played the sport professionally.
He carried with him in both Houses of Parliament, the passion and commitment needed to be a professional rugby league player.
“His work in Westminster for rugby league, and the legacy he has left for our game cannot be underestimated and it is only right that an award from politicians recognising service to our great game is named after the best we’ve ever had.
Last year former player turned TV presenter Mike Stephenson was presented with the group’s annual award for service to rugby league.
Former Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe MP was recognised in 2011 for his services to the sport.