The Northern Ireland Tug of War Association Hall of fame was created in 2000 and entry is based upon the contribution made by a member who has given outstanding service to tug of War in Northern Ireland and in other countries over a number of years as a puller, coach, representative or administrator in the pursuit of Tug of War.
November 2001 at the Annual General Meeting of the Association started the Hall of Fame.
The first two recipients were without doubt very well deserved that being Hughie Heron from Bancran and Alan Walker from Richhill.
Hughie, known throughout the tug of war world, first lifted a tug of war rope in 1965 at the European Championships in Berculo, Holland. In the 2001 outdoor season, Hughie was part of a representative team at the UK Champion ships in Wales and later in the season at the European Championships in Switzerland. Without doubt a record that will be very difficult to beat. In the intervening times, Hughie was part of Bancran, Garvagh and the touring Ballyhegan clubs, representing Northern Ireland on Numerous occasions. Trips that stood out for him were the 1976 trip to South Africa, 1978 to Southern Germany and 1980 also with Ballyhegan on an Australian tour when Northern Ireland beat Australia at Melbourne Cup day in front of 100,000 spectators. But he has said that he is particularly proud of his present team from Bancran.
Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tug of War Association, Mr Cathal McKeever presenting Alan Walker and Hughie Heron with commemorative gifts to mark the occasion of their entry to the NITOWA Hall of Fame.
Alan Walker is also well known throughout the tug of war world. He began in the mid seventies as a member of the Banbridge team and throughout his pulling years was well respected as an outstanding front puller with the famous Richhill team. Alan was also very prominent with the very successful indoor club, Ballyhegan. A memorable occasion was the goodwill games in Japan in 1988 when Alan won a silver medal competing against the top 10 teams in the World.. He is also widely known as the man who went on to lead Richhill to two gold medals at the World Indoor Championships in 2008.
Both pullers have pulled on the same teams on many occasions including the match against Australia on Melbourne Cup day and the gold medal victory in Germany in 1978. Northern Ireland is fortunate to have had the services of two such world-class athletes and there is no doubt that they have contributed hugely to the success of both their clubs and country.