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Celebrations all the way at Leigh RFC for RBS RugbyForce

30 May 2012

  • Steady hands may be at a premium amidst celebrations
  • Multi-tasking skills to be put to the test at Round Ash Park

DIY can be a precise business, with a steady hand needed for painting, line-band accuracy a pre-requisite of the builder’s craft and all the elements of the decorator’s art demanding exact preparations.

All of this suggests that a major makeover project might best be kept well apart from an on-site Beer Festival and a huge three-day Diamond Jubilee Street Party. However, multi-tasking is clearly something Leigh RUFC are comfortable with.

Founded in 1949, they were just starting to pass a rugby ball when Her Majesty the Queen became the monarch 60 years ago and this weekend, the celebrations of that anniversary will coincide with a milestone of the rather more humble sort at Round Ash Park in Pennington, Lancashire.

For amongst the revelry there will be a band of workers taking part in an RBS RugbyForce Weekend (June 2-3). This makeover project involves the changing rooms, shower area and pitches and a group of volunteers will put their celebrations on hold to pick up a paint-brush or a pick-axe before thoughts turn to donning the mandatory red, white and blue fancy dress and tuning into live music, brass bands, Punch and Judy et al and despatching some of the fine ales the club has become synonymous with in recent times. 

Given the ancillary attractions, wooing volunteers to Round Ash Park should not be a challenge and Press Officer Mark Downs is confident that with careful planning, the £1,250 prize awarded to the club by the RBS RugbyForce adjudicators to help with vital renovations will be productively used.

RBS RugbyForce Weekend is designed to help local rugby clubs help themselves get prepared for the 2012/13 season. The programme provides advice and resources to help the clubs organise a team of volunteers for a fun weekend that will achieve important goals – be they little or large – to improve the club facilities.

“We’re hoping to have a big crowd from the Leigh area so we can really get the club ready for next season and enjoy ourselves at the same time.” said Downs. “Like every club, we need to improve in every direction we can because good facilities and a fun environment can be the difference between players sticking with rugby or not.

“RBS RugbyForce will help us improve the club and make it a real focus for the community. We hope that this weekend will really help us for next season and also introduce new members who may be visiting us for the first time this weekend.”

Also engaged on RBS RugbyForce activities this weekend are Old Bedians RFC from Didsbury in Manchester.

Like Leigh, they are also working on the basis that the best way to get to their male members is through the tummy and their invitation to take up the paint brush or any other similar implement is decorated by the promise of a bonfire and BBQ to slake any extra thirst that has been built up by becoming involved.

Old Bedians and Leigh are two of five English rugby clubs celebrated being awarded ‘enhanced support packages’ from RBS RugbyForce, the annual community volunteer programme delivered in partnership with the RFU and the Rugby Football Foundation (RFF). The programme, now in its fourth year, received a record number of registrations with 278 clubs applying to receive support packages to transform their facilities with help from their local community the coming weekend.

Mitcham RFC was the overall winner, receiving £5,000 for their project, while Deepings RUFC, Isle of Wight RFC, Leigh RFC and Old Bedians all received £1,250 each for other transformational projects. Twenty-five other clubs received £250, T-shirts and other materials to help make their volunteering weekend a success.

Martyn Wilson, RBS Group Sponsorship Manager, said: “We’re really excited that Leigh and Old Bedians are taking part in the RBS RugbyForce Weekend. We hope it will help them prepare for the new season and that the resources we provide will make a real difference to their efforts. 

"Rugby clubs are so often at the heart of these communities and we’re thrilled that our involvement has really taken off over the past three years and is now reaching so many people. 

“It’s a natural extension of our RBS 6 Nations sponsorship and a reflection on the true value of club rugby to the wider community. The feedback from last year was great and this year we aimed to reach as many clubs as possible once again."

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