In early 2016 I was lucky enough to be given a space on the Rugby For Heroes Transition Through Rugby Course.  Having been a lifelong rugby player, after old age and injury caught up with me coaching seemed to be the natural next step.  The course was incredibly enjoyable and taught me how to be a coach.  The support from Rugby For Heroes was great it enabled me to make the most of the opportunity and really develop my skills as a coach.  Once I returned home I was keen to make use of my qualification and started to explore opportunities to coach and learn more.  I was fortunate to strike lucky early on and started coaching for London Irish.  It just so happened that in this instance Rugby For Heroes again helped me out.  One of the most powerful things for me about rugby is the community and network.  It’s very similar to the Military but does take a little bit of getting used to.  The head of community rugby at London Irish knew of the charity and also knew a couple of those involved, these shared contacts and relationships helped me get my foot in the door.

Fast forward to 16 Jul 2016 and I spent the day at the Stood taking part in the Harlequins Community Department induction day.  For me, the opportunity I have been given and been able to develop from the seeds that Rugby for Heroes sowed back in February have been amazing.  It has given me a whole new avenue outside the Military and really is delivering the transition aspect of the charities aims.   Prior to starting with Harlequins I have also been involved more with the charity and took part in a coaching and playing tour to Germany.  For me this was really important.  It was a group of likeminded individuals coming together and doing what we love and passing on our newly found skills to the wider community.  Getting to play a game of rugby again was a real bonus.  What really struck me in the sense of belonging and camaraderie – in this regard Rugby for Heroes and the transition course are absolutely outstanding.  This is one of those occasions where you absolutely get out what you put in.

For me the charity is an amazing organisation which is providing really valuable opportunities.  It has taken some work on my part but none of this would have been possible without Rugby For Heroes.  While I will coach now for Harlequins, the sense of belonging and friendship that the charity offers will always bring me back and make me want to help and be part of it in to the future.

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The 4th Mike Tindall Celebrity Golf Classic

groupGolfOn Friday 20 May, the Mike Tindall Celebrity Golf Classic took place at The Belfry in Warwickshire. This was the fourth of its kind, with this year’s proceeds being split between Rugby for Heroes and the Matt Hampson Foundation.

The weather thankfully went against the forecast to provide a dry and mostly sunny day as stars of sport and entertainment gathered to take on the challenge of the Brabazon Course, which is of course famous for hosting the European Ryder Cup victory in 2002. Our Patron, Mike Tindall was joined by wife Zara as well as the likes of Nick Wood, Ben Foden, Thom Evans & Austin Healey from the world of Rugby, AP McCoy & Mick Fitzgerald from the world of National Hunt Racing and Vernon Kay, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy & Brian Mcfadden from the entertainment world.bails1

The event was once again a tremendous success with the evening gala dinner raising a huge amount for both charities through both a live and silent auction. The Charity would like to thank everyone involved in the golf day, in particular our Patron Mike and Autumn Phillips for putting on such a wonderful event. Their continued support is hugely appreciated by everyone involved in the Charity but most importantly buy those the Charity is able to support as a result. 

Should you be interested in entering a team in to a future event then we would be delighted to hear from you.

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R4H Tour to play British Army Germany (BAG), Paderborn 12-15 May 2016

Junior-Paramore-coaching-masterclass-lrOn 12 May 2016, Rugby for Heroes took a team out to Paderborn to play British Army Germany (BAG) in what was the first of its kind for the Charity. As well as fulfilling the fixture against BAG, the aim of the tour was to promote the Charity within the armed forces, in particular the Charity’s “Transition Through Rugby” courses, which offers a Level 2 coaching qualification.
The squad was hosted by the 1st Armoured Medical Regiment at Dempsey Barracks and was made up of a number of armed forces personnel who had successfully completed the courses as well as ex professional rugby players including Junior Paramore (ex Samoa & Gloucester), Kevin Yates (ex Bath, Saracens & England) and Jon Goodridge (ex Gloucester & Bristol). The squad was managed by Charity Ambassador and actor Julian Lewis Jones. Team-manager-Julian-Lewis-Jones-dishing-out-the-instructions-lr

As well as the match against BAG, two coaching clinics were also hosted for British schoolchildren currently based in Germany. This not only provided the children with the opportunity to meet and be coached by stars of the game but also offered an opportunity to the Charity’s qualified Level 2 coaches to further their experience and put in to practice the qualification obtained through the Rugby for Heroes transition courses.

The game itself took place on Saturday 14 May and was a hard fought contest by two evenly matched sides, with the R4H XV running out eventual winners 41-19. Speaking on behalf of the Charity, trustee Simon Bailey commented: “Whilst obviously a pleasing result for the Charity, it was the overall success of the weekend and the reception given by our hosts that was the most memorable aspect. We very much hope that this will be the first of many tours and have no doubt revenge for the defeat is already in the planning!” logo8231310_lg

The Charity wishes to thank everyone who assisted in making the tour such a success but in particular British Army Germany, our tour sponsor Pneuma Roofing and our ex professionals and ambassadors for giving their time (and ageing bodies!) so generously.

(Photos courtesy of Cpl J Dudding RLC)

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