THE historic Oldham Rugby Union Club has launched a major fundraising campaign to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has punched an £80,000 hole in its finances.

Oldham RUFC has been part of the community in Bardsley since 1904. As well as running numerous teams, the club has provided a venue for birthday parties, christenings, weddings and many other functions.

It also has one of the longest established Sunday morning car boot sales in the area.

In recent years the club has hosted indoor and outdoor music festivals, motorcycle training, charity fundraising including Combat Stress and Manchester Dogs Home and many more.

Secretary Nick Middleton told The Oldham Times: "The coronavirus pandemic has closed the club since February.

"There has been no rugby, no functions, and a car boot sale which re-opened in July and was forced to close again in November. "We have had very little income during this time, and we face a fallow period as rugby competitions are cancelled for this season, and will not restart until September, 2021.

"As a result, the club is likely to lose more than £80,000 in income and still has residual costs to find in this period.

"The potential loss of grass roots rugby clubs will be disastrous for the sport locally, regionally and nationally. And the community could lose a great facility which is the envy of many other visiting clubs."

He said the management were working hard to keep the club going in challenging times, but that is needs financial support to see the cub through until it can open its doors and changing rooms again.

Oldham RUFC's first team was riding high in Premier Division of the Lancashire County Rugby Union League in second place and were closing in the leaders when the pandemic forced a premature end to the season.

It also runs a senior ladies team, and have a thriving juniors section which has teams in minis, U12s, U13s, U15s and U15s girls. It also provide coaching for local schools.

Nick added: "We can't wait for the green light to start training again, and to open our facilities to the community but this is likely to be some considerable time away yet.

"Any donations will be greatly appreciated by the club, their members, and all those members of the community who visit and use the our facilities. Donations can be made at: