WAKEFIELD Trinity star Reece Lyne has been chosen by Tony Adams as the first recipient of his RFL President’s Awards in recognition of the player’s mentoring work with young offenders.
The special awards in the gift of the President and designed to recognise inspiring work to change lives and communities through rugby league, and achievements by players, coaches and volunteers which bring the sport to new audiences.
Former Arsenal and England captain Adams, whose own charity Sporting Chance does so much to support people within rugby league, has been impressed by the voluntary work of 27-year-old Lyne.
He is one of several Super League players who have given time and expertise to support a ground-breaking project at Wetherby Young Offenders Institute delivered by the charity Rugby League Cares.
The programme involved players sharing their own experiences with young people and mentoring them to help improve their self-esteem and get their lives back on track.
However, as well as this, England centre Lyne has already developed a mentoring programme of his own with young offenders in his home city of Hull.
“There are times we all need someone to turn to,” said Adams, who became RFL president in July.
“Reece is showing young people, at their lowest ebb, that prison isn’t the end of the world, that they can still fulfil their potential and look to a brighter future.
“When the Wetherby mentoring project was getting off the ground, Reece was identified as the kind of personality who could lead and drive the project from the players’ side.
“He’d already made a strong impact with young offenders in Hull so he was a natural choice. He’s passionate about what he does and driven to make a difference to young people's lives.
“For their part young people at Wetherby have learned to trust Reece and confide in him, and it’s testimony to the strength of their bond that he’s been asked to continue his support. Staff at Wetherby have noticed positive changes too since Reece has been mentoring them.
“By sharing his own experiences and listening to what worries them, Reece is making an invaluable contribution to the lives of young people. As a professional sportsman he is also building his portfolio of skills that will help equip him for a varied and successful career post-playing – something I feel really passionate about as RFL President.”
Lyne will receive a special trip to Anfield for him and his family at the suggestion of Trinity chief executive Michael Carter.
RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: "It is wonderful that Tony Adams has chosen Reece as the recipient of his first RFL President’s Award; he is a credit to himself, to Wakefield Trinity and our sport.
“His work reminds us of how rugby league reaches people and communities often excluded or marginalised, and it changes lives."