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Inspiring clubs recognised at President’s Awards

05 June 2014

  • Seven awards presented at Twickenham Stadium luncheon
  • Event and awards celebrated all those supporting and developing rugby
2014 President's Awards winners

Photo: RFU Archive

Inspiring stories of clubs from across England making a difference in their communities were celebrated at the 2014 President’s Awards.

Seven awards were presented to the winning clubs at a special luncheon hosted by RFU President Bob Reeves at Twickenham ahead of the match between an England XV and the Barbarians on Sunday, June 1.

The winners were also taken out on to the pitch at half-time of the big game, which the Barbarians eventually won 39-29, to be photographed in front of the crowd of more than 50,000 people.

Competition across all the categories was fierce, and Reeves was quick to admit that it had been hard to pick the winners.

“We revised the format this year, cutting the total number of categories from 15 down to seven to make it easier for clubs to enter,” he said. “The total number of entries was 241 and the nominations were all of the highest standard.

“This made selecting the six finalists in each category a real challenge and it was even more difficult to pick just one overall winner from each.

“My category this year was ‘Beyond Rugby’, chosen because I wanted to recognise those people from different walks of life who are using rugby as a vehicle for social change. This is also the first time we have had an award that extends completely into the community, eligible to both rugby clubs and external organisations.

I was delighted that all the clubs accepted our invitation to attend the event and it was fantastic to see so many people who are doing so much to support and develop rugby, in communities across the country, together in the same room.”

The winners of the seven awards were:

Player Recruitment: Acklam RUFC (Yorkshire)

The club initiated a plan to help new people learn about the game and get less healthy players moving by putting on a course of weekly training sessions. Initially scheduled for six weeks, it has been running to good effect for the last two seasons.

Player Retention: Bromsgrove RFC (North Midlands)

Club Vice Chair Alan Danks led on a project to implement a new reserve team league, which has helped clubs offer regular competitive rugby to their 2nd XV and Colts players. The league crosses CB boundaries, incorporating clubs from North Midlands, East Midlands, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

People Power: Surrey Rugby

The CB launched Surrey Referees Group in order to develop and retain club referees as well as recruiting new people to take up refereeing. The programme, only launched in August 2013, is already attracting interest from other CBs.

Club Management: Canterbury RFC (Kent)

The club has a strong Volunteer Committee, backed by 74 further volunteers, who have implemented a strategic plan over a five-year period to grow and “future-proof” an effective, efficient and successful organisation.

Better Facilities: Morpeth RFC (Northumberland)

The club was singled out for the efforts of its President, John Price, who has “revolutionised” the club’s playing fields and estate in a period of 10 years that has also seen him serve as Facilities Chairman and Club Chairman.

Community Engagement: Keswick RFC (Cumbria)

The club has developed an extensive plan to become a focal point of the local community and now boasts membership of over 770 people from a resident population of under 7,000 as well as a thriving youth section catering for boys and girls.

President’s Category – 2014 Beyond Rugby: Bumble Bees Barbarians (Yorkshire)

The Bumbles were England’s first mixed-ability team where players with learning and physical disabilities play alongside able-bodied players. They have inspired the creation of three further teams in England and are organising the first ever international mixed ability tournament, to be held in Yorkshire next year.