- Head of Local Rugby Delivery among four honoured by Queen
- “What makes this so special is that it recognises the growth of women's rugby in England” – Rosie Williams
Photo: RFU Archive
Four people from the rugby family have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, including Rosie Williams, RFU Head of Local Rugby Delivery, and Danny Hodgson, RFU Council Member for Northumberland.
The others to be honoured are Gerald Foley and James Lettice, both of whom are awarded the British Empire Medal.
Rosie Williams OBE
Rosie has been awarded an OBE for more than a decade of service to women’s rugby. A Community Game Board member for 10 years, she has played an integral role in embedding the Women’s and Girls’ game into the RFU executive and volunteer structure, since joining the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) in 2002.
Rosie has overseen a 103 per cent increase in women and girls playing rugby in England since 2004 – now more than 14,000 – and there is significant increased support and emphasis on women and girls playing and being involved in the game across the country. The England Women’s team are also officially ranked second in the world in both XVs and Sevens rugby.
Rosie has also worked with the International Rugby Board to push forward the expansion of women's rugby around the world, and also served as a member of the European FIRA rugby executive and the Six Nations committee, representing England. When England hosted the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2010, she took on the additional role of Tournament Director, delivering a hugely successful event that attracted record crowds for women's XV matches and was televised to a global audience.
Following integration of the RFUW with the RFU in July 2012, Rosie took on the role of Head of Local Rugby Delivery and she is now responsible for the management and deployment of the largest field team working in rugby in the world.
Rosie said: “I am extremely proud to have been given this honour by Her Majesty the Queen. What makes this honour so special is that it doesn’t just recognise my own personal achievements but the growth and success of women's rugby in England that cannot be attributed to any one individual.
“I have been supported enormously by a fabulous group of people, from Board members and volunteers, to the staff teams at the RFUW and the RFU. They all deserve recognition for their hard work and commitment.”
Danny Hodgson BEM
Photo: RFU Archive
Danny Hodgson BEM is a farmer from Howick near Alnwick in Northumberland who joined the RFU Council as the Northumberland RFU representative in 2010 and currently serves on the Player Development Sub-Committee.
He was the Assistant Manager with the England Counties XV when it was inaugurated in 2002 with a tour to Chile and became Manager in 2008 when the Counties visited the USA and Canada. He continued in that role until standing down in 2010 after an unbeaten tour to Canada.
He is a former Alnwick RUFC and Northumberland player and a former coach of Berwick-upon-Tweed RUFC and Alnwick RUFC, where he is a Life Member. He has been involved with Northumberland rugby for most of his adult life.
He has also been one of the driving forces in the Northumberland activities of the Wooden Spoon Society, a rugby charity which raises funds for youngsters with special needs, and declares his interests/hobbies to be ‘country life’.
James Lettice BEM
James Lettice has been awarded a BEM for his services to Silloth RFC. James has been a valued volunteer at Silloth Rugby club and in the community for nearly 40 years. He has coached, volunteered and raised funds for Silloth RFC. James has twice been awarded the valued volunteer award for his unpaid volunteering services to rugby in the area.
Gerald Foley BEM
Gerald Foley from Stoke Bishop received the British Empire Medal for his services to rugby and the community in Bristol. Following a successful playing career, Gerald refereed for 27 years and was at the highest level as a senior RFU touch judge for two years. The 81-year-old has served on various committees for organisations including St Brendan’s RFC, the Bristol Referee’s Society and the Bristol & District Rugby Football Combination, which he remains active with.
The British Empire Medal (BEM), reintroduced in 2012, rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration.