As well as the phenomenal turn out and the 1st XV game, Chelmsford RFC hosted a charity match as a curtain raiser. This game saw Essex Bishops take on Wooden Spoon Essex XV in a launch event for the Wooden Spoon Essex charity.
The teams were comprised of 46 veteran players from a dozen Essex clubs, players who have played with and against each other for years – decades in some cases! Naturally, this meant the game was very physical and competitive, despite the good humour and spirit in which the game was played.
Essex Bishops is a touring veterans team, established in 2008, which has raised several thousand pounds in its 11-year history but the day’s event was to mark the launch of Wooden Spoon Essex. Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby, established in 1983 it funds around 70 projects a year to help support children facing disability or disadvantage. As one might gather, Wooden Spoon Essex is the Essex arm of the charity and aims to fund projects around the county to support disadvantaged children in the county. Projects funded by the charity to date do not just focus on rugby but have included respite and medical treatment centres, sensory rooms, specialist playgrounds, and community based programmes.
Wooden Spoon is an incredible charity, with branches all over the UK and Ireland and over 400 volunteers around the country, working to raise money for the children in their area. Chelmsford RFC are delighted and proud to have been able to host this charity event and to have helped the charity raise £2,700 for disadvantaged children in Essex. The Chelmsford RFC 1st XV played in Wooden Spoon socks, match fees, a percentage of the Vice President’s lunch, and funds donated on the day saw more than £2,500 raised in a single event.
To see 46 veterans still playing rugby was also heartening and the day saw 4 father/son duos take to the pitch – James and Nic Crouch, Les and Matt Jefferson, Stafford and Anthony Butt, and Gordon and Jamie Ash. It is wonderful to see the sport be passed through the generations – rugby truly was the winner that day. Chelmsford RFC hopes to see this event repeated next year and looks forward to seeing how Wooden Spoon Essex develops and impacts children in our community.