Dewsbury Rams are sad to announce the passing of former committee member, PA announcer and timekeeper, Ken Crabtree.
Born in 1926, Ken enjoyed an almost lifelong association with the club.
Speaking to the Dewsbury Reporter in 2006, Ken said: “I always loved rugby and tried to get off work on Saturdays for a couple of hours. When Sunday rugby came in it was a real boon to me.”
In 1950, Crabtree became a member of the playing squad.
Ken recalled: “Jack Holt also played and one night he picked up Harry Hammond and threw him out of the bath.
“That wasn’t easy because Harry was a huge bloke and was covered in soap and very slippy but Jack managed it.”
Ken was forced into retirement due to a serious knee injury injury, and served as a member of the management committee that ran the club in those days.
He was an influential force behind the scenes, playing a key role in the creation of a pre-match programme of music and announcements.
“A neighbour, who played in a brass band, brought me a demo record and I played it during a game against St Helens.
“A man from Bolton actually wrote to ask if I could give him details, so he could buy the record, but it wasn’t on sale at that time.
“The tune was the Floral Dance by the Brighouse and Rastrick Band, which became a massive hit, and everyone seemed to buy it.”
As well as being Crown Flatt’s original ‘DJ’, he was also the club’s timekeeper for many years and, in the decades that followed, performed nearly every role available at the club, including cleaner, programme editor and club historian.
He was a member of the backroom staff when Dewsbury were crowned champions in 1973, but is perhaps best known to supporters in the modern era as the club’s trusted timekeeper.
Ken recalled: “We were playing Rochdale at Crown Flatt and the electric hooter broke down so I picked up the microphone and growled into it. At least the referee heard and ended the match.
“You have to be impartial to some extent as timekeeper.
“In the Grand Final against Leigh in 2000, when Dewsbury were winning by a point, the referee didn’t hear the hooter so I quickly told the Leigh man to press it again and keep on pressing.”
Ken was a constant at the club during the move from Crown Flatt, to Mount Pleasant, and in to Owl Lane in 1994.
He was also the club’s principal statistician, with records going back many years, and helped put together the Official History of Dewsbury RLFC, published in 1989.
Prior to his involvement with the club, Crabtree served in HM Navy, working in the submarines, while his wife, Betty, who is also sadly no longer with us, was a midwife.
Betty was also very well-known throughout the club, performing a number of duties on and away from match days.
Ken’s funeral will take place at Dewsbury Crematorium on Wednesday 14th February at 10.30am.
Dearly loved husband of Betty, much loved dad of Samantha and David, dear father in law of Colin and Diane, loving grandad of Christopher, Annabel, Rebecca, Rosie and Johnathan, a dear great-grandpa of Maisie, Jaxon, Willow and Charlie.
Our thoughts are with Ken’s family at this time. He will be missed by everybody at the club.