- Alnwick fundraisers take aerial route
- RFU President opens new facilities
Photo: RFU Archive
Alnwick Rugby Union Club volunteers started to reach for the skies in a metaphorical sense in May 2012 when a fundraising committee of nine embarked on an ambitious programme of redevelopment that initially required them to find funding of £230,000.
That was the original amount required to create two new changing rooms, a gym, a disabled toilet and the completion of a refurbishment of existing toilets/showers/baths.
Support from Sita, Sport England and Northumberland County Council gave the club a solid foundation, but those were literally washed away only a few weeks later when a severe storm flooded the clubhouse, adding flood defence works to the scheme of works and pushing the total needing to be raised by the club to a huge £110,000.
Undaunted, the committee set about putting together a programme of projects and the club and community got behind them in spectacular fashion. A successful World Record Breaking goal-kicking attempt, coupled with a Charity Auction, a Donate a Brick scheme, the donation of a scoop of grain by farming friends, a number of grants and donations, a male voice choir evening, a Wine, Cheese and Christmas Cheer Evening, a Champagne Sunday to welcome in 2013 and a Black Tie Dinner pushed the fund to within striking distance of the target.
At that point, the fundraising committee decided to reach for the sky in a very real sense when they organised and completed a sponsored parachute jump, which took the tally to the £110,000 mark.
Penny Stewart, Chair of ARFC fundraising committee said: "The committee has worked hard over the last year to raise all the much-needed funds for the redevelopment of our clubhouse and this seemed like a very fitting climax to all our efforts.
“We were very lucky that we had a clear, fine day and the views from 12,000ft were amazing. Although nerve-wracking, it was a great feeling to fly through the air and even better to know that we had achieved our target."
Emma Adamson, one of the jump team that included five women and two men, said: "When the opportunity arose to complete a tandem skydive in order to raise money for the club, I jumped at the challenge.
“I knew that I would be nervous, but I wanted to do my share to raise money for a club that I have grown up in and where I hope my own son will do so in the future.
“It was an incredible experience which I couldn't recommend enough. Words really don't do it justice – you have to experience it yourself to really appreciate the feeling.”
RFU President, Bob Reeves, has agreed to officially open the new facilities this coming Saturday (October 19).
Robert Robinson, president of Alnwick Rugby Club, said: "We are all very proud of the team who undertook the parachute jump and delighted that they all made it down in one piece.
“The fundraising team have worked tirelessly over the last 12 months raising funds for our redevelopment and it was great to have volunteers for the jump. It also shows what can be achieved by a group of people willing to go that extra mile for their rugby club.
“We are all very proud of our new facilities at Alnwick RFC and this means that rugby will continue to play a large part in our community for many more years to come. It has been tremendous to see the help and generosity from both our members and the wider community with our fundraising efforts and this has generated great spirit, teamwork and an immense sense of pride in our club.”