Eddie Waring

A Dewsbury Great.  

One of a select group of individuals born, bred or living in Dewsbury who have made their mark on their town and country. The Dewsbury Greats have featured in various exhibitions and publications since they were first researched and published in 1992.

photo of Eddie Waring

Eddie Waring pictured at Crown Flatt in 1936

'Mr Rugby League' who took the northern game to millions.

NO Dewsbury man has been seen or heard around the world more than television star and sports commentator Eddie Waring, who was born in 1910 just a short walk from the Crown Flatt Rugby ground the place where he was to take his first step towards fame and fortune.

For it was his keen interest in Rugby League and sound advice from American film star Bob Hope which helped the boy from Hollingroyd Avenue become world famous as a sports commentator and television personality..

Eddie, a Dewsbury journalist, was destined to take Rugby League into millions of homes in Britain through the medium of television. He soon became known as "Mr Rugby League"

A pupil of Eastborough School and later Wheelwright Grammar School, Eddie started his career as a sports reporter on the Dews bury District News which later merged with the Dewsbury Reporter He later became a brilliant campaigning  journalist on national newspapers and magazines and for many years proudly claimed to be the only reporter to have seen post-war Test between Britain and Australia

Household name

Eddie later became a well-loved television personality, a household name, whose distinctive, clipped Yorkshire accent and sardonic Dewsbury wit was to endear him to millions.

For it was this unusual accent which introduced half of Great Britain to their first taste of Rugby League on television. His ebullient style transformed the northern game into a popular TV entertainment by millions nationwide. Until the introduction of television in the 1940s, people living down south knew little or nothing about the tough northern game of Rugby League. Eddie later moved into other areas of television and became internationally famous on comedy game shows.

photo of Eddie Waring in later years

The happy, smiling face of Eddie Waring which viewers throughout the world saw.  It was Bob Hope who had first told him about television.

Made his name as a manager

RUGBY League was not Eddie Waring's first love as a young man, he had excelled as a soccer player, playing on the wing for Yorkshire Amateurs, Nottingham Forest and Selby Town.

By the age of 22 he had made his mark in Rugby League as trainer for the Dewsbury Boys Team and was soon invited to become secretary-manager of the Dewsbury Rugby League Football Club who were bottom of the league.

Within a couple of seasons the club had won both the Challenge Cup and the Championship. Eddie, who cut a dashing figure in stylish clothes and trilby hat was, at 32, the youngest and most sought-after manager in the game. In 1944 he took what was regarded as the biggest job in the game at Headingley but less than two years later was released to become the very first journalist to cover a Rugby League tour in Australia.

photo of the Crown Flatt committee

The Crown Flatt committee proudly showing off the trophies gained while Eddie Waring was manager.  Eddie is second from the left, back row.

IT was while returning from an Australian tour in the 1940s that Eddie heard of television for the first time.  He stopped off in Hollywood where he met Bob Hope who impressed upon him the importance of the soon to be developed television medium.

His first television commentary on 1948 Cup Final was shown to a restricted audience. Later in 1951 he was to go nationwide with the very first Rugby League game to be televised throughout the entire country - Great Britain v New Zealand Test - from Swinton. He stayed with the BBC for 30 years, retiring as their Rugby League commentator in 1981 and receiving an MBE a year later.

After Eddie's death In 1986, Rugby League journalist Harry Edgar wrote: "No individual has become so well known or done so much in the history of Rugby League. "To chronicle the full story of Eddie Waring's contribution to Rugby League would take a full volume."

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