Wetherby Rugby Club tackles the pandemic – a Sports crowdfunding project in Wetherby by Wetherby RUFC

by crypto journalist

…….. has been providing opportunities for children & adults to participate in rugby for over 50 years. We are located slightly south of the town centre in an enviable location with vast grounds. 

This campaign will help the rugby community come together in many ways. We need your support to help us through this challenging period financially, however more importantly, we want to deliver a fitting tribute to one of our own, Richard Jones. Rich was a hugely passionate supporter of the club and one of his last acts was driving to get our clubhouse refurbished. He would be delighted to know we have managed to do this in his honour.

Club Background

The 1st XV play in Yorkshire Division 2 and a few years ago went on a winning streak that surpassed 50 games unbeaten, winning the Silver Trophy & being crowned “Team of the Year” at the junior club awards ceremony at Twickenham stadium. The Junior section has produced many winners of the age group Yorkshire Cup from U13 through to U16 and several county players.

Yet, the 2020/21 season has presented one of the club’s biggest challenges & has been one of the most difficult in its history. These are unprecedented times but together, we are stronger, and the response from our members has been fantastic when asked to help out. 

We have fantastic rugby playing facilities which are well looked after – pitches, floodlit training areas & changing rooms with underfloor heating and integrated showers – gone are the days of one massive bath for everyone to get in !

We now need a clubhouse to match. It will then continue to support the 350+ players we have from aged 4 through to 18 in mini junior and a thriving senior section where the Men’s 1st XV were 1 game away from a Twickenham appearance, in the senior vase competition, when rugby was halted. Our philosophy is to provide a fun & safe environment for kids to learn & play rugby, and then socialise with each other afterwards, creating life long learnings & friendships. We also want to be a central pillar for the community where businesses & individuals can get involved and enjoy all the benefits that rugby brings. 

We are also fairly good at it as well! The Men’s Seniors are looking to gain promotion from Yorkshire 2 & the Women’s Seniors are looking to expand, having found the right level of opposition to play against. In the Juniors, we have had only a handful of losses across 10 age groups from U7s to Colts in the most recent season. 

A tribute To Richard Jones – Player, Captain & Coach

Richard was Vice Chairman of the Mini Junior Section & Head Coach of the U12 Warlords. He also played for the club over 100 times and was captain from 2000 to 2002. With great sadness, Richard passed away suddenly on 13th January 2021 from a blood disorder. 

1612203923_rich_at_the_club_(2).jpgRichard was an amazing man and so full of life. He never sat still or wasted a minute of it and there was nothing he couldn’t do or put his mind to. He was a brilliant Dad to Carmen and Frankie (seen on the left back in the Micros in 2014) and the most devoted and generous husband, son, brother and friend to so many. We will all miss him enormously!

He worked tirelessly to build a very successful company, looking after his team like he did his family. He led the Clever Association team to become an international, award-winning business, working on some incredible projects. From business associates to clients alike, he was keen to build strong friendships and give every ounce of his energy to the finer details.

When not working, he was a huge rugby fan, having played at Wetherby for many years where he captained the first team and his Dad has been Chairman. In more recent years, he put his time and energy into coaching young players. He coached Frankie and his team since the age of 3 and has turned them into the tight-knit, undefeated, team they are today. Richard’s coaching and enthusiasm has given these boys the skills they need and has helped them build such a strong bond that will last them through to adulthood. Richard was working on a refurbishment project of the clubhouse to make it a place where members and the wider community would enjoy spending time. Raising funds for the clubhouse was a cause that was very important to him and we feel it would be a fitting honour to complete this project in his memory.

Richard was so selfless and never wanted the attention on himself. We know he would be very humbled by your support and honoured that his name could be used to do some good for many others, now & in years to come.

Help us tackle this pandemic & provide a fitting tribute to Richard.

Funding Streams impacted

Our usual funding streams have all been affected, as have the whole community throughout this pandemic. Wetherby RUFC are seeking to raise money to save the club from the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and prepare for a reopening.

We would normally run 2 or 3 major events across the year; a summer ball for the Mini Juniors, a Sportsman’s dinner & our showpiece event “An Evening with …..”. This latter dinner has attendees from across the club & local community with many businesses booking tables. We normally raise £10,000+ from this.

1613496201_eveningwithwill_031.jpgFrom our 1st incarnation in 2016 with Will Greenwood (World Cup winner 2003), we have grown each year, with Bill Beaumont (Chairman of World Rugby), David Flatman (England player & current TV pundit) and in December 2019, Nigel Owens. The concept was to be inclusive & intimate, where the attendees found out a bit more about our guest through a Q&A as well as some excellent speeches. It was also a chance to raise money in a social & fun way (remember those days!)

The last event with Nigel saw us sell out & our speaker deliver our best speech, & ultimately event, to date. None of this has been possible in the last 12 months where we have had to cancel events multiple times.

We have also not been able to open the bar for any matches, losing this valuable revenue stream as well. Our sponsors have been very generous, staying with us throughout, however, we have not been able to generate any new partnerships.

What will the funds be used for?

Last year we managed to do the flooring, lighting, entrance area & Ladies/Disabled toilets with funds raised in 2019 or before (events detailed above). We did not have sufficient funds to complete the project in full though. 

We now aim to complete the bar area, Men’s toilets, soft furnishing and the furniture. Currently we are still using the old tables & chairs. To create an area we can be proud of and something the local community can use for a variety of events, we must have flexible furniture options in keeping with the new ‘look & feel’. We want everyone in the local area to be able to hold business meetings, weddings, parties, celebrations, as well as many local clubs to host their meetings. Thereby further driving our club to be the centrepiece & hub for the local community. Below shows some images of why we need your help to deliver our goal.

What else does the club do? …….

Women’s Rugby

As you can see from the events above, we are well supported by our Women’s Team, mums, partners & suffering girlfriends/wives. 

In 2018 the Club established a women’s section with an initial development year which attracted a mix of experienced women players and women new to the sport. They entered their first league year in 2019/20 season. Though off to a rocky start saw, the team grew a core group of players eager to learn and improve in the sport. 

1613507567_womens_-_changing_rooms.jpegBy the end of the 2019/20 season the Wetherby Women had earned a reputation for being an inclusive, positive welcoming team attracting experienced and new to rugby players alike. Despite the lockdowns and restrictions the team remains active building our knowledge and camaraderie. With the direction of our dedicated coaches, both former Wetherby players, and with the full support of the Club the women are looking forward to getting back on the pitch soon doing what we love, and hopefully into the lovely club house for a well earned drink.

Men’s Rugby

The men run 2 teams plus an occasional Vets XV. The 1st XV play in Yorkshire Division 2 which is part of one of the most competitive county leagues in the country. Last season saw the 1st XV lose a few more games than expected meaning they ended up in the bottom half of the table. In previous seasons the 1st XV have been in the top half, regularly beating teams above them in the league. 

1613507730_all_mens.jpegIn the last season (2019/20) the team were one win away from a Twickenham showpiece final. They beat Orrell, who were the favourites going into the game, in the RFU Senior Vase Northern final. Alas, the team were thwarted in their efforts to reach a first Twickenham final due to Covid. The team have rallied round since then, in the various lockdowns, challenging each other to stay fit. Their current running challenge sees the team running the virtual distance between each 6 Nations grounds throughout the tournament. 

Like many players, they all look forward to the day when they can be back in the changing rooms having played for each other, won, and are getting ready for post match celebrations in a new clubhouse. The social aspect is one of the hardest to manage, so this project gives everyone something to look forward to.

Mini Junior Rugby

Wetherby runs rugby for all age groups from Micros (Nursery, Reception & Year1), to U7s and every age group through to U16s. Next is the Colts, a combined U17s/18s team like all other clubs which transitions players into senior rugby. We have many girls who play in the minis (up to Under 12s) and have recently set up a girls U13 team (years 7 & 8) to ensure all players, boys & girls alike, have a pathway to senior rugby.

We have almost 350 registered children which makes us one of the biggest Mini Junior sections in the county, if not country. Each age group is ably supported by a group of volunteer coaches, a team manager & first aiders. Our volunteers number over 60 and we run a pre match dinner every year, before a 1st XV home match, to thank them for their support. we are also joined by local businesses who suppoort us too.

T1613509990_u13_bowl_win.jpeghe teams train mid week (either Tues, Wedn or Thurs) from U9s and play matches on Sundays. Not only do we boast one of the largest playing base of children, we are also very good on the winning side too! Not many of the minis get beat throughout a whole season (c20 matches), and we have been regular winners of the Yorkshire Cup, which starts at U14 now (previously from U13).

One other highlight in every season is the team tours. All the minis tour together en masse from U7s to U11s, with the older age groups running their separate tours. This is where the teams form lifelong bonds …. and get to stay up later than their parents often! We also host many touring teams and would like to do this next time in a newly refurbished clubhouse that we are proud of. We want to create a legacy for all children to enjoy socialising in, creating memories and being able to come back to the club and reminisce with friends on the times they spent on the pitch together, and afterwards in the clubhouse.

2017 The Far East …. to Hull & Back

2018 Sunny Scarborough …… (hmmmm ……. with the beast from the East)

The U14s north of the border, and Tour Court !

Thanks for your support, it means a lot to everyone involved in the club.

This content was originally published here.

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