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Former RFU President hails Eastern Counties’ welfare award

20 June 2013

  • Brian Williams presents award to Safeguarding team
  • Group established in 2007 has stand-alone status on Constituent Bodies
Winner Player Safety and Welfare: (left to right) James Pepper (March Bears RUFC & ECRU Safeguarding Team), Brian Williams, Martin Pratley (Colchester RUFC & ECRU Safeguarding Team).

Photo: RFU Archive

Eastern Counties has collected one of the prestigious RFU President’s XV Awards for 2013 after being voted the top constituent body in England for ensuring player safety and welfare.

Eastern Counties Rugby Union’s Safeguarding team of volunteers was judged to have done the most to look after the rugby family through their work to prevent injury, provide quality pitch-side care, help player recovery, raise awareness of or funds for the RFU Injured Players Foundation and support players and families affected by serious injuries. 

The trophy and the cheque for £500 that accompany the award were presented by former RFU President Brian Williams at a function held at Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds.

“As an Eastern Counties man, I’m absolutely thrilled to see my Constituent Body winning this very important award which reflects the efforts they have put into looking after the well-being of players across the county,” said Brian Williams, who started playing rugby at Northgate Grammar School, and has long-standing links with Ipswich YM, Suffolk and Eastern Counties.

“Player safety and welfare is a key part of the work which every county and club puts in to take care of our players and to know that you are doing it well enough to collect an award is a real feather in the cap of Eastern Counties rugby.”

Ray Collins from the ECRU Volunteer Team said: “The award is recognition for our group and I’m delighted that our submission earned approval from the panel of judges.

“To be picked out for one of the 15 awards from hundreds of nominations coming from all parts of the RFU was quite an accolade and something we’re thrilled to have received.

“It’s also very pleasing to see the RFU acknowledging the hard work clubs and CBs put in, and also recognising some of the very good ideas that the army of volunteers come up with.”

The volunteers involved are an example of organisational and managerial excellence led by Martin Peacock (Safeguarding Manager) and supported by James Pepper (Safeguarding Officer for Cambridgeshire), Sally Lloyd (Safeguarding Officer for Norfolk) and Martin Pratley (Safeguarding Officer for Suffolk).

The Safeguarding Team was established in 2007 and has a seat on the Eastern Counties Management Committee and a stand-alone financial budget to support safeguarding matters. 

Between them this year Eastern Counties and Essex had no fewer than four category winners and five runners-up in the annual RFU President’s XV Awards.