A MAN is celebrating after buying back his grandfather’s rugby mementoes from a collector who out-bid him at auction.
The items – gathered by Richard Bowkett’s grandfather Len Bowkett during his nine years at Fartown in the 1920s and 30s – fetched £2,300 in a Leeds auction.
The memorabilia included a 1933 Challenge Cup winner’s medal along with six other medals, caps, photographs and a miniature silver trophy.
Richard only found out the pieces existed and were about to go under the hammer after he read a story in the Examiner.
The 35-year-old went to the sale but was out-bid by £300 – but now he’s managed to get the memorabilia back from the buyer.
Richard told the Examiner: “The buyer phoned me the next day and asked if I wanted to meet him so I went to his house.
“I think my story must have tugged at his heart strings because he said I could buy them back if I wanted to.
“I bought everything except for one medal – it cost £2,300.
“I’m lucky because I had the money to buy them.”
Richard, a joiner, is keeping his grandfather’s caps and photos at his home in Bradford.
He has given five of the medals – including the Challenge Cup medal – and a trophy to The Rugby League Heritage Centre at The George Hotel, Huddersfield.
Richard, who has one daughter called Mia, seven, said: “I’m so chuffed because ever since I was a kid I’ve looked at a photo of granddad when he and the team were in the Challenge Cup.
“In his hand he has a box with a medal in it and I always wondered where that medal was – and now I have it.
“The day when I got the stuff it was a weird feeling because they were just there in my hands.
“On a night I sit with them on my knee and just look at them.”
Richard thought the rugby museum was the perfect place for the medals and asked sports presenter Mike Stephenson, from Dewsbury, to join him at the official presentation.
Richard, whose mum Jennifer lives in Almondbury, said: “My granddad played for Huddersfield so I thought it was the right place for them to be.
“I live in Bradford but Huddersfield is where they should be because my granddad loved Huddersfield.
“And I know they used to go to The George Hotel after all the big games.”
The rare 1933 Challenge Cup medal was presented by the then Prince of Wales, who was later to become the King Edward VIII.
Bowkett played 274 times for Fartown at stand-off and centre between 1926 and 1935, scoring 37 tries.