TWO youth charities have shared £12,000, the proceeds of rugby league player Mark Flanagan’s testimonial.
Oldham’s Mahdlo Youth Zone and the Gorton equivalent HideOut Youth Zone have each been handed £6,000 for projects to help young people.Mark, the recently retired former Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Salford Red Devils loose forward/second row, said: “I always intended to give the money to charities and both these work with young people and have initiatives to give them somewhere to go off the streets and they also offering mentoring.
“I know about the work of Mahdlo because my father (Terry, Saddleworth Rangers’ president) is a former chairman of that charity.
“The HideOut Youth Zone is the equivalent in Manchester where I have lived and where my business is based.”
Mark, who began his playing days at Saddleworth Rangers, was awarded a three-month testimonial by the Rugby Football League for his services to the game.
A testimonial is awarded for 10 years’ service at one club, but in Mark’s case it was given for service to the game as he had played a specific number of games for three clubs to qualify.
Mark raised £12,000 from three fundraising events, a golf day at Dunham Massey, Ultimate Sports Dinner at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester with boxer Anthony Crolla, Paul Scholes and Jon Wilkin and finally an Enforcers’ Evening at the AJ Bell Stadium with rugby league forwards Adrian Morley, Jamie Peacock and Sam Burgess.
It is just over 12 months since Mark retired and he has no plans to follow the likes of Gareth Owen, Danny Bridge and Phil Joy in returning to the club where they began their playing days to play social rugby.
Mark, 33, explained his body had told him the time was right to call in a day and he won’t be returning to Rangers unlike the other three who have gone back to Waterhead Warriors.
He has business interests outside the game as he and former team-mate Jon Wilkin run the Manchester café business Pot Kettle Black and have a bakery linked to that.
Retiring has also enabled him to spend more quality time with his young family.