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Inspirational Rugby Heroes honoured in Daily Mail RBS award

11 March 2013

  • Heroes of rugby recognised through Daily Mail RBS programme
  • Ten worthy winners received a pair of tickets to England vs Italy

The Daily Mail and RBS, along with the England Rugby Football Schools Union, identified over 100 volunteers as nominees for this year’s Daily Mail RBS Real Rugby Heroes award, all of whom have played a crucial role in helping to deliver rugby up and down the country. Over the past four years these have included teachers, parents, coaches, a police officer and a nurse.

From establishing rugby clubs for girls, washing muddy kit to driving minivans the length and breadth of the UK or giving up spare time to coach come rain or shine, each of the Daily Mail RBS Real Rugby Heroes nominated over the past four years of the scheme’s lifetime have sacrificed their own time to support the benefits of taking part in rugby union.

The 2012-13 Heroes each received two match tickets to England vs Italy in the RSB 6 Nations, as well as VIP invitations to the Daily Mail RBS School Final Day on Saturday, March 23 at Twickenham Stadium.

2013 Daily Mail RBS Real Rugby Heroes winners:
Former Friary School rugby coach and referee Barry Broad introduced thousands of young players to the game during his 30-year-long involvement in the sport. He ran the County Schools Cup at U13 level, and continues to do so throughout his retirement from the role.

Also a former school coach, Mike Nicholson of Wolfreton School, Hull volunteers in all aspects of rugby union at the school, travelling all over Yorkshire in the name of rugby. Nominated by student Ali Ibrahim, Mike helped introduce and develop the sport at the school, supporting teachers to run sessions during term time. 

Nominated by teacher Mike Hendley, Head of PE Richard Byrom has played a central role in the development of rugby teams at years 7, 8, 9 10 and 11 at Dukeries Academy. “He has increased the profile of rugby within the college and the community to such an extent that the rugby players have a status around the college and rugby training is the place to be seen,” commented Hendley. “The discipline that the players are learning from Richard and the game can clearly be seen in their improved attitudes towards college, their studies and the way they behave in school.” Not content to stop there, Richard is now focusing his efforts on recruiting girls into the sport.

Parents, students and teachers are included amongst the heroes

Also included in the list of ten RBS Real Rugby Heroes is parent Tony Henderson, who has supported his three sons in their progression through the sport at St George’s School, Harpenden. Coaching in all conditions both after school and at weekends, Tony has been committed to volunteering with the school’s rugby programme for seven years and is well respected by pupils, staff and parents. 

Joining Tony is fellow parent Dus Sotiriou, who has become a significant part of the coaching team at Wallington C.G.S, giving up his time to not only support the team of PE staff during the week, but also at weekends. Dus has worked his way through Rugby Ready, Level 1 and Level 2 coaching qualifications. His main input has been with the recent U14 squad, which he coaches once a week after school, and coaches and supervises on a Saturday morning. He also networks with parents to ensure match refreshments are provided. He is also a Society referee who regularly referees school games.

Students Rosemary Tugwell and Rory Snowball of Peter Symonds College and St George’s College Weybridge, respectively, are also named as RBS Real Rugby Heroes after just two years involved in the sport. With injury preventing Rosemary from playing for England U20, she turned to helping develop girls' rugby at the Hampshire school, whilst continuing to assist with the sport at her previous school in both the girls and boys game. Nominated by teacher Mark Rugman, 18-year-old Rosemary has refereed for both schools and coached Alresford adult teams.

Like Rosemary, Rory Snowball suffered an injury that has prevented him from playing rugby union, and kept him out of all sports for 10 months. Determined to stay involved in rugby, Rory turned his hand to video analysis for various age groups in the Surrey school, picking apart all aspects of the 1st XV fixtures to enable the players to fully review their performances.

Despite his role as Site Manager for Bedale High School allowing him little time for scheduled rugby sessions, Clive Pointon continues to run after-school practice twice a week in addition to trips out to Headingley and HQ itself. Having taught curriculum rugby for many years at the high school, Clive “always gave his time freely for the benefit of youngsters in his care”, commented Martyn Cooms, who nominated Mr Pointon for the award.

Joining Rosemary as the second female selected in the top ten, Casey Hollis has played a central role in setting up and running a girl’s rugby club at Springwood High School. Despite the sessions running on a Friday night, Casey manages to attract 15-20 players who take part in a muddy but very active session, and all while occupying her daily job as a Sociology teacher.

Finally, Support Assistant Tony Strickland completes the ten-strong list, having developed rugby at South Molton Community College and in the local community for the past five years. Nominated by Head of PE Richard Uffendel, Tony, 63, has forged strong links with the college’s local club, who have provided new coaches to assist with rugby delivery at the school.