The Rugby Football League today pays tribute to two unsung heroes of the game who have passed in recent days – Roy Carter and John Tudor.

Roy Carter was a passionate Salford supporter, and a stalwart of the Langworthy Reds community club. But arguably his finest moment in the game came through his work as a match official, when he was a touch judge for the 1991 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley between Wigan and St Helens.

Jim Smith, who was the match referee that day, recalled: “Roy was a very quiet, unassuming man, but one I was always delighted to work with. He just got on with the job, didn’t panic – and he also did a heck of a lot for the game with his work for the North West Counties.

“That day at Wembley he took it in his stride, as you’d expect. We worked as a team, with Joe Chamberlain as the other touch judge. They’re nice memories, and I send my condolences to his family.”

Steve Ganson, the RFL’s Head of Match Officials, said: “I knew Roy from early in my career as a referee – he was the appointments officer for the North West Counties.

“That’s the sort of job that is so important but easily overlooked, and I know Roy made a huge contribution. He was also an excellent match official in his own right, as shown by his Wembley appointment. On behalf of our Match Officials department, the RFL and the sport as a whole, we send our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”

John Tudor had been a supporter of the Bradford club, whether Northern or the Bulls, for over 65 years, and had served the club in a number of official roles since 1980, including as chair of their Supporters Club – and for much of the last two decades as timekeeper.

He had taken over that position in 2005, following the death of the great Trevor Foster – the genial Welshman who had become a Bradford institution since coming north from Wales as a player, and was therefore quite an act to follow!

Gerry Kershaw, the RFL’s head of match commissioners and timekeepers, said: “The little cabin at the top of the main stand was John’s domain. It was perfect for Timekeeping – just enough room for the two of us – always well heated – summer and winter – and to a large extent sound-proofed from the noise of adjacent spectators.

“But one of the main attractions being Timekeeper alongside John was the ‘goodies’ supplied by his wife Ann for consumption at half time – mainly scones and coffee. So welcome, particularly on a cold day.

“He was a man steeped in Rugby League, with of course a passion for Bradford. His knowledge of the laws was excellent and he never hesitated to speak up when he felt decisions weren’t going Bradford’s way – he would look at me with a wry smile when I told him that most of the decisions were correct!

“I have him down as one of Rugby League’s gentlemen. He will be missed by everyone in my group – but I do hope that Ann will stay involved!

“It goes without saying that we send our deepest sympathy to her, and to all John’s family and friends.”