Thackeray commits to Widnes

Widnes have fought off competition from Super League clubs to retain the services of half-back Anthony Thackeray.

Thackeray, 24, has been Widnes’ top try scorer this season, helping them to the Northern Rail Cup Final in July for the second season in succession.

The deal was made possible by Vikings fan group VIQI, who helped raise the funds to help secure Thackeray’s signing on a new two-year deal.

Widnes Sporting Director Terry O’Connor said: “VIQI has played a massive part in ensuring we have been able to retain the services of a vital piece of our team building for next season. Anthony is a tremendous asset to the club, he is one of only a number of players that can break down the opposition, and his appetite to move on and improve as a player is what we are looking for.

“The Widnes fans contributing to this scheme should feel extremely proud that they have made this deal happen.  As the players are part-time at the club, it’s important that we have a number of our current players, along with new players, working hard in the local schools within Halton.”

Thackeray will take up a role as a Community Development Officer, placing him within the Youth Development structure at the club in a coaching/mentoring role, which will see him work closely with Widnes’ successful scholarship and Under 16s programme.

The Vikings Quid’s In scheme (VIQI) has raised over £107,000 in just over ten years in existence, with members contributing a minimum of £1 per week. A well publicised drive to retain Thackeray’s services helped VIQI secure more than 100 new members in the last 10 days, raising more than £1,000.

Jason Shaw, one of the driving forces behind the scheme, said: “It is at times like this when I remember why we started this scheme up. It’s about making a difference and for me it’s a way of trying to help bring back the glory days when I regularly watched us picking up silverware and this is my way of trying to help my children get to see those glory days back here at the Stobart Stadium.

“He clearly showed his desire and passion to remain a Widnes player and he was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Widnes fans supporting the ‘Keep Thack’s Initiative’.”

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