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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