Rob Hawkins3

Bus bears name of Halifax hero in wheelchair rugby league world cup-winning England team

  • Rob Hawkins of Halifax Panthers to star on bus around town
  • World Cup on show in Yorkshire for the first time
  • Fans to get selfies with trophy at Shay Stadium on Sunday 27 August

First Bus has named one of its Halifax fleet after Rob Hawkins, a member of England’s Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup winning team.

Rob, 21, who plays for his hometown club Halifax Panthers, now appears on the front of a single-decker bus that will be used on routes throughout the area and spread knowledge of his achievements among local people as well as fans.

The idea to name the bus was made by drivers at the Halifax depot after Rob has enjoyed a phenomenal year of success in the game. He helped Halifax Panthers win a thrilling Wheelchair Super League Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos last October, scoring five tries in a 52-48 win, and was also named the club’s Player of the Year 2022.

He said: “I am honoured to have a First Bus named after me. After winning the World Cup last November alongside some of the best team-mates and staff that I could possibly ask for I would never have thought that I would be getting opportunities like this and to be recognised in my home town of Halifax.”

And he’s managed to arrange a special treat for fans by bringing the wheelchair rugby league world cup to Yorkshire for the first time since England lifted the trophy after beating France at Manchester Central arena in November last year.

Fans will be able to get up close to the world cup this weekend (Sunday 27 August) when Halifax Panthers take on Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Championship game at Shay Stadium.

The cup will be on display together with the Rob Hawkins bus in the car park prior to kick-off where fans will be able to get selfies.

“It is amazing to think there’ll be the bus and the World Cup at the Shay Stadium on the same day and I cannot wait for everyone to see it,” added Rob. 

Craig Turner, Operations Manager at the First Bus Halifax depot, said: “Rob is a local hero and when the drivers suggested they would like to honour him with a bus naming we thought this would be the perfect way to celebrate him in the communities we serve.

“It’s going to be an exciting day on Sunday to be there with the bus and the wheelchair rugby world cup and we expect there will be plenty of fans wanting to get in on the action.”

Rob also paid tribute to fellow Halifax Panthers team-mates, Wayne Boardman, Jack Brown and Sebastian Bechara, who played for England in the world cup final and have helped his career.

“Wayne and Jack have coached me since I started playing wheelchair rugby league and have taught me everything I know,” he said.

Rick Farrell, Halifax Panthers Media Manager, added: "We're delighted that Rob has been recognised for his achievements within the game by having a First Bus named after him.

“He has been a major part of our Wheelchair team for some time and was a big factor in our 2022 Super League Championship winning season alongside his World Cup heroics. To see a hometown hero like Rob putting Halifax on the map as a World Cup Winner is something that will inspire people across the district and we're very proud of him as a club and a community."


Notes to editors

Media enquiries to Richard Harrison, PR Manager, First Bus North & West Yorkshire 07973 668116.

Notes to editors

First Bus is one of the UK’s largest bus operators. Making journeys easier for our customers, we were the first national bus operator to accept contactless card payments across all of our services and our First Bus App is voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators. Our most recent investments are in new, state-of-the-art buses across our key networks.

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