KEIGHLEY Albion Community Rugby League club have run a hugely successful ‘Design a Supporters Shirt Competition’, which reached a happy conclusion on Sunday.

It was seen as an opportunity to keep all of their players and supporters busy and engaged with the club while the season is suspended, and there was an overwhelming response, with 61 entries into the competition.

For the club, this was never about making money, and they proudly announced that all profits from sales of the shirts would be donated to the Airedale General Hospital NHS Trust, who are performing a tremendous service in trying circumstances.

The idea for this was inspired by one of the entries, from youngster Hannah Rollason.

On the donation, club chairman Richard Dibbin said: “Many of us have been looked after and supported by the staff and facilities at Airedale Hospital, and as our local NHS Provider, we have decided to donate 100 per cent of the profits raised from the sale of these shirts to them.

“They are very deserving of this, particularly in the UK's current battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whether the money raised is enough to give them all a cup of tea or coffee or provide some new equipment, I am sure you will all agree that any donation is worthwhile.

“We will need the staff and facilities at Airedale General Hospital more than ever for the foreseeable future.

“We would love for all who are able, to support the NHS and our club in purchasing one of these shirts.”

The committee had the unenviable task of selecting a shortlist of four finalists from all the incredible entries, with the winner decided by popular vote.

The winner was 10-year-old Mia Hewitt, whose shirt reflected many of the values of the sport of rugby league and of Albion themselves.

This shirt will now be brought to life as the club's ‘Supporters Shirt’, and will be produced by local sports kit designers, AJ6 Sports of Silsden, who have kindly offered the club a generous manufacturing price to maximise the NHS donation.

They provided a digital mock up of the shirt, which features the logos of the NHS and the Airedale Trust, along with the club's main sponsor, A1 Stairlift Services, and associate club sponsor, Keybury Fire & Security.

The shirts are now available to purchase for £20 per unit, with details on the Keighley Albion Facebook page on how to get your hands on one.

The competition kept so many children creatively engaged while off school and that, alongside the amateur club passing all profits on to the NHS, attracted a lot of attention throughout the sport and the district.

And that included Member of Parliament for Keighley and Ilkley, Robbie Moore.

On his own Facebook channel, Moore congratulated Mia on her winning design, praised the club for running the initiative and lauded their gesture to donate profits to the Airedale Hospital NHS trust.

He also revealed he had purchased a shirt and was looking forward to wearing it.

Meanwhile, the club is continuing plans to keep players busy while the season is suspended.

Dibbin said: “During these uncertain and unprecedented times, we are working hard at keeping spirits up.

“As one of the largest amateur rugby league clubs in Yorkshire, the committee are determined to provide ongoing activities for our players and families during this current situation.”