The RFL has paid tribute to Rugby League journalist and statistician Raymond Fletcher who died earlier today after a long illness.

Fletcher was the sport’s official statistician between 1991 and his retirement in 2011, when his services to the game were recognised by his induction on to the RFL Roll of Honour.

A lifelong Hull FC supporter who played for the Airlie Birds as a junior, Fletcher was the Rugby League correspondent for the Yorkshire Post between 1975 and 1995 – only the fourth journalist to hold the position since the sport’s foundation in 1895.Ray Fletcher

He was also co-editor of the Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook between 1980 and 1999 and wrote for a number of other publications in the UK and Australia on a freelance basis throughout his career.

RFL Communications Manager John Ledger said: “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Ray Fletcher, a man whose work touched on the lives of so many people in Rugby League.

“The depth of Ray’s knowledge of Rugby League, its clubs, its players and its heritage was only surpassed by his passion for the game.

“Only a few weeks ago Ray bequeathed his meticulously kept records and collections to the RFL Benevolent Fund: the sport is all the richer for his work over the last half-century and more. “Our thoughts are with Ray’s wife Muriel and family at this sad time. He will be sorely missed.”

State of Mind would like to pass on our sincere condolences to all of Ray’s family and friends