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Rugby Club Is The "Pride of Andover"

02 January 2008

Dickie Staff, the driving force behind Andover Rugby Football Club Youth Academy, was recognised by his local community as the Winner of the "Contribution to Sport" category at the inaugural Pride of Andover Awards recently

The Sport category featured four finalists from Athletics, Football, Hockey and Rugby with Dickie taking the winner's badge of pride.

Nominated by one of his Academy Committee members - Denize Goodall - his recommendation read:

' Whereas a magician turns a handkerchief into a rabbit through slight of hand, our nominee for The Pride of Andover has, through gritty determination, attention to detail, indefatigable optimism and plain bloody minded persistence in the face of seemingly intransigent opposition and apathy, cajoled a handful of disparate volunteers supported by volunteer coaches, and (now) an increasing band of helpers, into Andover Rugby Football Club Youth Academy which is now a thriving, structured and successful sporting club, serving boys and girls aged from 5 through to 19. Dickie Staff is our nominee, for without the spark, there is no fire."

Dickie received his award from journalist and broadcaster, Esther Rantzen, at The Lights in Andover. In reply to Esther's question about Dickie having a nose central in his face, unusual for a rugby player, he replied that he had never actually played rugby!   His motivation is his passion to help the youth of Andover, which has resulted in a highly successful club that now has a membership of more than 350 youngsters, two of whom have been selected to play for England and two others who are currently playing for Premiership side London Irish's Elite Academy team .

Following the presentation ceremony, Dickie acknowledged that he accepted the award on behalf of everyone at Andover RFC. "I am extremely honoured and delighted to accept this award.  However, a club is only as strong as its membership. My job is to �steer the ship' and focus on getting everyone thinking and working in the same direction.  There are nearly 80 people, who, like me, are all volunteers and who help in a coaching, team managing, committee, or other supporting role. They are all as equally enthusiastic which is why the club continues to grow from strength to strength. This in turn has improved our reputation both in Hampshire as well as with the RFU at Twickenham."

Local companies Stannah and HSA joined forces to sponsor the event which was the brain-child of the local paper - the Andover Advertiser. Additional support was generously given by Andover Vision, The Lights, Testway Housing, Test Valley Volunteer Services and Waitrose.

To find out more about the Andover RFC Youth Academy call Dickie on 01264 358345