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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio pitches in to conquer rugby’s coronavirus challenge

RAPID RESPONSE How emergency funding protected vital projects during lockdown

GIVE A GIFT OF MEMBERSHIP and give a child the ultimate gift this Christmas

Your Wooden Spoon membership will be funding life-changing projects for local children who may not have the same opportunities as you and your family. Wooden Spoon is a registered charity in England and Wales (Reg No: 326691) and in Scotland (Reg No: SC039247)




O MATTER how great the cause or desperate the need, I am yet to have heard of a charitable organisation immune to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. It is a stark fact that money and means of raising it have become increasingly scarce as households continue to react to the still unfolding story of COVID-19. This is not down to a seismic shift in stance to giving or widespread adoption of a ‘charity starts at home’ attitude, but due to real concerns over people’s jobs and immediate financial prospects. Which is why those involved in our own great charity should not take a fall in fundraising – in a year characterised by lockdowns and social distancing – to heart. Camaraderie is at our core, as all those of you who have attended a Wooden Spoon function in the past will testify, so it is inevitable that the necessary cancellations and postponements of many of our planned events for 2020 have taken their toll. Thankfully, there are already some green shoots of recovery to be seen in respect of fundraising and, perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these can be found on the fairways and greens of golf courses (page 34). We are, however, not taking anything for granted – and nor should we given the increased need for our support (pages 10-11). There is plenty of work going on behind the scenes to develop our “new normal” and to bring the rugby community events that enthral and entertain while adhering to government guidelines. This indomitable spirit is a delight to have seen in action.

Our trustees, members, volunteers, regional committees and fundraisers have refused to be curtailed by coronavirus, pulling together in the true spirit of rugby to achieve positive results against the odds. Where obstacles have been presented, they’ve been overcome. No London Marathon on the streets of the capital to lace up for? No problem (pages 32-33). Unable to call on the usual army of volunteers to support the construction of a forest classroom? No need to cancel (page 29). And the agility of our amazing squad has been reflected by our ambassadors (page 36) and corporate supporters (pages 20-21), who have not sought to use lockdown to shirk their commitment to help positively transform the lives of children and young people. It is this collective fortitude – both now and in recent years (pages 6-7) – that has enabled the children’s charity of rugby to support others in their hour of need. The impact Wooden Spoon has made during these unprecedented times is highlighted in this edition of Spoonews (pages 16-19) and is a credit to you all. Thanks, as ever, for choosing to be our champions. Enjoy the issue.

Sarah Webb Chief Executive Officer Autumn/Winter 2020


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How the hard work of the past is helping to ease the hardship of the present

New trustees bring breadth of expertise to the children’s charity of rugby









Life just got tougher for thousands but together we can still help those in need

Lawrence Dallaglio pitches for partnership to conquer Covid challenge

How Wooden Spoon moved quickly to support others during lockdown

How our corporate sponsors remained resolute in a time of crisis

FUNDED PROJECTS WOODEN SPOON THE CHILDREN’S CHARITY OF RUGBY Email: Tel: 01252 773 720 Fax: 01252 773 721 Write: Sentinel House, Ancells Business Park, Harvest Crescent, Fleet, Hampshire GU51 2UZ Contact details for our regions can be found online, on page 45 and at Content © Wooden Spoon 2020. Registered address: Sentinel House, Ancells Business Park, Harvest Crescent, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UZ. Charity Registration No 326691 (England & Wales) and SC039247 (Scotland).


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Children’s hospice service credits Wooden Spoon with restarting visits

Funding allows Mae Murray Foundation to set up a new stream of support

Cardiff charity praises intervention







Wooden Spoon Scotland caters for children in need

Children’s charity of rugby helps to seed a brighter future for schoolchildren












Meet those who laced up in unusual circumstances for this year’s historic Virgin Money London Marathon

Golf leads the fundraising charge as fixtures finally return

Wooden Spoon Wales raises a celebratory glass to hottest ticket

Wooden Spoon reaches new readers thanks to national newspaper campaign

Fallen Kiwi coach, Matt Ratana, saluted by East Grinstead club mates

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Good reason to smile: Scottish winger Tim Visser visits Bright Sparks in West Lothian


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POSITIVE REFLECTION How the hard work of the past is helping to ease the hardship of the present


EASONS for cheer are relatively few and far between at the moment, but the children’s charity of rugby has much to savour and salute. Amid the gloom of coronavirus, Wooden Spoon’s most recent annual report – published this summer – proved a proverbial ray of sunshine. The facts and figures featured speak volumes for the endeavours of the charity’s corporate sponsors, supporters, volunteers and regional committees during a remarkable 2019/2020. A welcome antidote to bulletins on Brexit and pandemic predictions, the report’s headlines are a pleasure to digest. Over the course of the financial year an incredible £1.4 million was spent on life-changing projects, money which supported 82 charitable causes across the UK and Ireland and impacted positively on the lives of 142,000 vulnerable children and young people. Wooden Spoon’s CEO, Sarah Webb, told Spoonews: “It was a truly remarkable year and we are delighted to have recorded a 12 per cent increase in our charitable spend. Our very purpose is to help those in need and we can not thank our supporters enough for allowing

us to help even more children and young people. “People went to extreme lengths to allow us to do so – in some cases breaking world records to secure sponsorship. Highlights include our Everest Rugby Challenge; staging rugby’s longest game; the marathon endeavours of FedEx employees; Rugbytots wonderful staff cycling from London to Paris, but every effort and every penny raised has contributed to a tremendous team effort. “Without such a strong showing we would not have been able to rally around others as we did when COVID-19 came calling. In

“Without such a strong showing we would not have been able to rally around others as we did when COVID-19 came calling”

addition to the 82 community projects funded through traditional processes, we have pledged £246,000 in emergency funding to organisations providing essential funding to disadvantaged children and young people in their own hour of need (pages 16-19). “We are indebted to Rugbytots and The Telegraph, who worked tirelessly to put us in such a strong financial position, for giving us the agility to do so. “Both donors were keen to be involved in the selection of future projects but generously agreed to allow us to deploy funds to help others during these unprecedented times.”

Flashback: The Archbishop of York at the formal opening of a new multi-use games area at West Road Primary in Yorkshire

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OODEN Spoon has bolstered its squad with the appointment of five new trustees. The strategic signings bring additional expertise across a breadth of specialisms – and two familiar faces – to the children’s charity of rugby’s board, which continues to be led by Quentin Smith. Boasting experience in both the private and public sectors, Jane Harwood, Graham Allen, Christine Braithwaite, Brett Bader and Callum Whitton succeed four trustees who have reached the end of their terms of office but remain committed to supporting a charity they have served with distinction. Retiring from the board are Nigel Timson, who has been appointed President of Wooden Spoon; Richard Smith, who is to continue to volunteer as a project inspector and assist with fundraising and finance operations on Wooden Spoon’s Yorkshire committee; David Allen, who has pledged to back fundraising through his business networks; and Martin Sanders, who will be helping to deliver voluntary projects. Quentin Smith, Chair of Wooden Spoon’s Board of Trustees, said: “It is a really exciting time for Wooden Spoon but also tinged with some sadness as we say a huge ‘thank you’ to four hardworking, very effective and supportive retiring trustees. “We followed a careful process to select new trustees, which involved the whole board. We were forensic in our approach, working to understand the skills we already had at board level; which particular skills we would be losing with the trustees leaving and

“The charity has been a fundamental and very active part of my life since 1983” – Nigel Timson what particular skills and experience we were looking to gain with the new appointments. “We had an extraordinary response when we advertised the roles and are delighted with the appointments who bring great insight and experience from a range of disciplines such as youth problems, sports at all levels, business leadership and volunteering. “There is a good representation across a variety of ages, gender and geographic parts of the country. They are bursting with energy and creativity, and will bring a really diverse, fresh, outlook to our work.” Nigel Timson (pictured above), a founder

of the children’s charity of rugby, said he was deeply honoured and privileged to become Wooden Spoon’s new president. “The charity has been a fundamental and very active part of my life since 1983,” he added. “I see my role as supporting the chair and trustees to actively help and support taking Wooden Spoon onto its next stages of development and growth.” Sarah Webb, Wooden Spoon’s CEO, said: “I look forward to working with our new board and president, drawing on their expertise and support, as we navigate the challenges and opportunities presented to us in the current environment.”


A marketeer, rugby player and chair of women’s rugby at Firwood Waterloo Rugby Club, Christine brings a blend of marketing, customer relationship management, business improvement and sporting acumen to the Wooden Spoon board. Having learned her trade at 3M, where she developed a keen interest in the digital and data disciplines of marketing, the freelance consultant and trainer has previously spent a three-year spell supporting the Beanstalk charity. “I was invited to a Wooden Spoon Merseyside lunch by former England rugby player and captain Gill Burns MBE last year and heard first-hand from the head teacher of a school for children with special needs,” she said. “The school had benefited from a sensory room, funded by Wooden Spoon, which was having an amazing impact on its pupils. I love the charity and really wanted to get involved, so when I saw the trustee role come up, I applied immediately.”


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CALLUM WHITTON Having worked in sport development and administration for more than a decade, Callum is at the forefront of British Olympic and Paralympic disciplines; driving and influencing the highest standards of professional, organisational and ethical conduct across a high-performance system. Proficient in providing strategic programme, project and operational management support to UK Sport teams, stakeholders, events and athletes, he has also held various roles in schools, colleges and charities. The latter has seen the women’s rugby coach manage large development projects with a focus on community development, capacity building and engaging underrepresented groups using sport as a tool to transform and address inequalities. “My rugby and professional background had enabled me to see first-hand the work of Wooden Spoon,” he said. “I am hoping to bring new ideas, innovation and creativity to the role. I would like to use my experience to appeal to more groups and build on the excellent success that the Wooden Spoon team has already achieved.”

JANE HARWOOD A trained scientist with a 30year career working as a senior executive leading on strategic business planning and corporate support functions for various police forces, Jane has a long-standing love of rugby. She has worked as a deputy CEO for Centrex, the body responsible for police training, and for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Metropolitan Police Authority. A vice chair at Missing People, she is also currently part of Surrey’s resilience forum, leading the response to COVID-19 and is a nonexecutive director at the University Hospital in Southampton. “I love rugby; my husband and son play rugby and it has filled my weekends for a number of years,” she said. “The trustee role at Wooden Spoon pulls a lot of my interests together – rugby is a sport I love and enjoy and I am helping a charity supporting children and young adults with disabilities and facing disadvantage. “I hope to bring expertise in running organisations, good networking skills and experience of being a trustee. I also bring strong skills in policy, research and safeguarding with a real passion for wanting to help people.”



The current chair of Wooden Spoon Dorset and Wiltshire, Brett has a background in education, working in schools in senior management roles, as well as being a medical educator and serving as a senior officer in the Army Reserves. He has founded and manages three businesses in the fields of educational training, expedition training and sports coaching, took part in Wooden Spoon’s Longest Game of Rugby and joined the charity’s veterans team on its Armistice tour last year. “I hope I bring passion, new ideas and energy to the Wooden Spoon board,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with like-minded people and I want to really add value so we can continue to help others. I think outside the box and hope I can bring some innovation to the board. I am also keen to use my skills of bringing people together to support Wooden Spoon in delivering sustainable projects that help vulnerable children.”

Graham has been a supporter of Wooden Spoon Scotland for a number of years and recently joined the charity’s Bristol and Bath committee. He was an integral part of Wooden Spoon’s world record-breaking Everest Rugby Challenge and Longest Game in 2019, contributing his skills as an highly-experienced referee. During a diverse career, which started in medicine, Graham has set up and run a variety of businesses, ranging from coffee houses and wine bars to travel agents. He is the founder and chair of defence company Subsea Craft and owner of a commercial forestry business, LAM Forestry Ltd. “I am hoping to bring my skills from running and setting up successful businesses together with a sports perspective to give strategic guidance to the charity,” he said. “I hope that I will be able to look at a potential project that we are considering funding and to look at the best way we can approach it, as well as working together with other charities to have the most positive impact on children with disabilities and facing disadvantage.”

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‘NO TIME TO REST IN SUPPORT OF THE YOUNG’ Life just got tougher but together we can still help those in need


ITH even a “new normal” still seemingly far over the horizon and further local lockdowns likely, 2020 will go down as an incredibly challenging year for charities. The coronavirus pandemic has created something of a perfect storm for those reliant on fundraising; forcing the cancellation of usually relied upon events and generating widespread economic unease that has made households cautious about any nonessential expenditure. Even before the threat of a “second spike”, 77 per cent of small charities surveyed by the Institute of Fundraising in June reported that COVID-19 had affected their finances. While this is a worrying statistic in itself, it is even more so given 72 per cent of those organisations also reported an increased demand for their services. Wooden Spoon’s story is therefore a sadly familiar one. As a charity which usually boasts a comprehensive calendar of fundraising events, net income has been hit hard and is expected to be dramatically less

than in previous years. In turn, the vulnerable children and young people who rely on the children’s charity of rugby will not receive the same level of support. From the 1 January to 30 September, 39 projects had been approved compared with the 62 in the same timeframe in 2019. The need for the transformative work of Wooden Spoon has far from diminished though. COVID-19 has caused havoc with the provision of services for children with disabilities in the UK and Ireland. In England alone, fewer than 10 per cent of the 390,000 young people with complex disabilities and special needs received their usual care during lockdown and this figure fell to as low as 0.04 per cent. In March, a survey of 4,000 families conducted by the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), a coalition of charities, found that for 76 per cent care and support had stopped completely. Around 80 per cent of respondents said the mental health of their child – and their

“COVID-19 has caused havoc with the provision of services for children with disabilities in the UK and Ireland”

own – had deteriorated as a result, while half said their physical health had suffered. The strain being put on these households is significant. Parents have had to juggle concerns for the wellbeing and behaviour of their socially-isolated children with managing home schooling and worries over household income. Adding to the bleak picture is the news, as reported by the Children’s Society, that one in seven councils have closed the emergency funds usually available to help in the event of a crisis – a decision that leaves the vulnerable at risk. A withdrawal of support can set in a motion a hard to reverse cycle of decline. Children exposed to disadvantage are more likely to suffer from poor physical and mental health, underachieve at school and face employment difficulties in later life. These young people need our help more than ever, which is why Wooden Spoon is more grateful than ever for your support. Thank you for standing by us throughout the coronavirus crisis.

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Wooden Spoon is a registered charity in England and Wales (Reg No: 326691) and in Scotland (Reg No: SC039247)




HE children’s charity of rugby has issued a rallying call to the sport’s community to bring extra muscle to efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable children across the UK and Ireland. Sarah Webb, chief executive of Wooden Spoon, is championing further collaboration between rugby’s principal charities as they tackle the challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis and try to build brighter futures for young people facing disadvantage. “As a charity we have always taken great pride in our sporting heritage and owe our core values of passion, integrity, teamwork and fun to our roots,” Sarah explained. “From our trustees to our fundraisers, teamwork has played a huge part in the charity’s success and there is no reason why we shouldn’t further follow rugby’s lead in this regard. “On the pitch, opposing teams can show each

other no quarter and yet – as soon as the final whistle blows – there is a shared respect. “The same is true for the game’s supporters, who can be fiercely partisan one minute and toasting their opposite numbers the next. “Off the pitch, rugby’s charities have never been rivals and more often than not share the same goals, but historically we may not have been the best teammates that we can be.” Wooden Spoon’s chief executive said a greater demand for charities’ collective services demands a greater degree of cooperation. “If there is a positive of COVID-19, it is that it has given us time to stop, think and really interrogate how best to serve those who need our support,” she told Spoonews. “Collaboration between charities is nothing new but, by considering respective strengths and weaknesses, it may be possible to deliver more effectively and efficiently for the benefit of

children and young people. “There may be more we can do to share best practice and to ensure that any gaps in provision are identified and resourced.” For Wooden Spoon, such collaboration is nothing new. The children’s charity of rugby has, for example, been a staunch supporter of the HITZ programme and previously partnered with the School of Hard Knocks to tackle unemployment, crime and poor health. And, as highlighted by the fledgling relationship with RugbyWorks (pages 14-15), Wooden Spoon has many old friends to call upon. “The focus for everyone is helping children so if we can assist each other to play better then that has to be a sensible tactic to pursue,” concluded Sarah. “If a bigger squad means more lives changed then it’s got to be a good idea to talk.”

“If there is a positive of COVID-19, it is that it has given us time to stop, think and really interrogate how best to serve those who need our support.” Autumn/Winter 2020


STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Wasps legend Lawrence pitches for partnership to conquer rugby’s Covid challenge


AVING lifted the World Cup with England and clinched five Premiership titles and two European Cup victories at Wasps, Lawrence Dallaglio knows more than most about the rewards of teamwork and uniting with others to overcome adversity. They are trusted tactics the former flank forward – famed for dishing out hard hits on the pitch – firmly believes must be adopted by those rugby-related charities looking to make a lasting impact off the field in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Faced with a shared rival in Covid-19, which has left many third sector organisations fighting for survival, the ex-England skipper has joined Wooden Spoon (page 13) in issuing a rallying call to the sport’s caring community to close ranks. “The power of collaboration is long overdue and the need to come together is probably greater now than it has ever been,” the founder of Dallaglio RugbyWorks, which helps young people to achieve positive and productive futures through education, employment and training support, told Spoonews. “I think it is really important for charities like Wooden Spoon and RugbyWorks to collaborate. The rugby community has always been about teamwork and coming together and that is the best way to get through this tricky period.” The Richmond resident, who set up his foundation after hanging up his boots and following the death of his mother from cancer in 2008, is no stranger to the children’s charity of rugby. Having served as president of Wooden Spoon Middlesex for ten years and seen first-hand how it improves young lives regionally and nationally, the World Cup winner is confident with the capabilities of RugbyWorks’ new teammate. “Working alongside such an amazing charity means everyone wins,” the 48-year-old, who captained Wasps to European glory in 200607, added. “Our young people will receive the benefits of the partnership and hopefully then can learn from the charities’ shared skills and values and take them forward into their future lives. “What we as RugbyWorks have learned


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during the coronavirus pandemic is the requirement for collaboration – not just with our long-term partners but through developing new, exciting relationships, which will hopefully benefit even more young people.” Creating further capacity to throw a shoulder of support behind those children and teenagers in need will help to tackle any additional demand caused by Covid-19, according to Lawrence, who was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2008. Citing an increase in social isolation as a consequence of lockdowns and travel restrictions as a major concern, he added: “I don’t think we will honestly understand the impact of this time on the younger generation for another few years yet. “They have missed a period of education unlike any generation since wartime. I don’t

“The children we work with don’t have the unconditional love, belief system and parenting that I was lucky to grow up with and have had throughout my life.”

want to sound too dramatic, but that is the reality. You are what you are exposed to and young people have lost out on many experiences over the last six months.” Among the moments missed during the national lockdown were RugbyWorks’ coaching sessions, which – along with all sporting activity – were abruptly forced into hibernation in March. The recent return to the training pitch – and opportunity for youngsters to exercise and release pent-up frustrations – has proved a welcome highlight of a trying year for the scheme, which was introduced to tackle startling statistics that show up to seven out of ten 14- to 17-year-olds who drop out of the education system end up in prison. Welcoming back his pre-emptive strike against the prospect of young people going off the rails, Lawrence said: “The children we work with don’t have the unconditional love, belief system and parenting that I was lucky to grow up with and have had throughout my life. “So it’s great that they can start to smile again and think positively about their futures. They have said to our mentors how glad they are to see our coaches and our people back in their lives. Hopefully we can now start to build on that and build those key life skills that will allow them to prosper. “It is something I am very passionate about because rugby came into my life when I was young,” explained the 2016 inductee of the World Rugby Hall of Fame, who spent his entire playing career in Wasps colours. “I was definitely asking a lot of questions and was incredibly challenging as a teenager and found rugby helped me in a very positive way. “That is the reason I set up RugbyWorks, which is all about working with a small number of people to have a profound impact on their lives.” While those under Lawrence’s expert tutelage face a brighter future, the same can not be currently said for the sport in which he excelled. At both elite and grass roots level, rugby is shrouded by dark clouds with supporters starved of live action and fears mounting


“If we can use rugby as a vehicle to change people’s lives, then that is a fantastic thing to be able to do. Rugby has always found a way of coming together to work through its challenges and I am certain this can continue throughout the Covid crisis.” over a lost generation of young talent. “The Covid crisis has shown that nobody is immune from being affected,” stressed the former British and Irish Lions star. “The RFU [Rugby Football Union] has gone from a position of breaking even to potentially recording millions of pounds of losses. “The autumn internationals are going to be played in empty stadiums and if the Six Nations goes the same way then you are looking at £130 to £140 million in revenue down the hole.” The father of three, who was capped 85 times for England and also has a Sevens World Cup winners’ medal to his name, continued: “At some point in this crisis we have got to make some brave decisions and we are talking about being sensible, nobody’s urging decisions to be made in haste. “I don’t see any reason why stadiums can’t be made safe environments. Clearly to create a safe and secure environment you can’t have maximum capacity, so there will have to be some concessions to get people back through the turnstiles.”

And after months of gloom, Lawrence is acutely aware that he is not alone in yearning for the tonic of a visit to Twickenham, watching a park side or being sandwiched in a scrum. “Rugby has a huge influence socially and economically in different communities throughout the country and at all levels,” he added. “There are thousands of kids all around the country that want rugby to return. I don’t think people can underestimate the impact that rugby has on people’s lives, whether it’s participation or supporting. Sport is all about emotion, it is about love, it is about hate, it is about everything in between. “We are tribal as a human race and sport is a little bit like that; you pick sides, you pick teams and yet it unites everyone, and makes people smile. “Often what we need in life is to have something to look forward to. We have targets and goals and certainly the Lions tour to South Africa would be fantastic if we are allowed to go out and be a part of that.

“In a country like South Africa, which has its own issues politically and economically, I think you can’t underestimate the impact that rugby, in particular the Lions playing the Springboks, can have on a whole nation.” Whilst the television and radio pundit is relishing the prospect of lending an informed voice to live action overseas, his immediate focus is very much on home soil and skippering rugby’s charitable community into a successful new era. “I know how generous the rugby community can be and it has proven itself during these troubled times and what I would say to any rugby fans out there, is we need your help,” he concluded. “Like all charities, RugbyWorks’ fundraising was turned off overnight, but the problems young people face haven’t gone away. “If we can use rugby as a vehicle to change people’s lives, then that is a fantastic thing to be able to do. Rugby has always found a way of coming together to work through its challenges and I am certain this can continue throughout the Covid crisis.”

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RAPID RESPONSE When the world ground to an unceremonious halt in March as society grappled to contain COVID-19, charitable projects were quick to feel the pain of the pandemic with lockdown leading to a sudden loss of fundraising. Where possible, Wooden Spoon moved quickly to support a wide variety of vital services...


EMONSTRATING the kind of agility and speed usually associated with rugby’s star names, Wooden Spoon acted decisively – and with dramatic effect – when coronavirus struck. The charity responded quickly to the unfolding crisis – and its negative effect on not-for-profit organisations, donating a total of £246,000 to ensure essential services could continue to be delivered. The reach of this support was vast – positively impacting 32 regions across the UK and Ireland and providing a lifeline for 76 vital projects. “We feel immensely proud to have helped everything from children’s hospices and community food banks to charities offering mental health support to young people,” explained Wooden Spoon’s CEO Sarah Webb. “Our ability to do so though is down to the benevolence of others and would not have been possible had it not been for the amazing support of The Telegraph Christmas Appeal 2019 and funds raised by our long-standing corporate supporter Rugbytots last year.”




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“The support we have received has been phenomenal in helping us be there for Cornwall’s most vulnerable children and young people, whose challenges have often been compounded by the pandemic. The funding has been invaluable in helping us support these young people throughout Covid-19 in a time of urgent need.”



“Thanks to Wooden Spoon, Cruse Bereavement Care Isle of Man is delighted to be able to host its 14th annual residential weekend for bereaved children and young people. The weekend provides an opportunity for more than 25 CruzKids to meet in an informal setting and challenge themselves in a variety of outward-bound type activities.”


DORSET CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION, DORSET With its charity shops closed and popular accessible-for-all events cancelled due to COVID-19, the Foundation started to send out “Bags of Happiness” to the families it supports. However, with no budget for the initiative, it quickly exhausted stock in its shops and warehouse until Wooden Spoon intervened. A donation from the children’s charity of rugby allowed the Foundation to sources sensory toys, bubble wands, games, books, teddy bears and lots of arts and craft items for its care packages. The ‘Bags of Happiness’ were delivered – along with food parcels and medical supplies – to more than 260 families in need.

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“The children we are supporting are living in families that have lost their jobs and have no income and others live in families with poor mental health or disabilities. Overall we are delivering 2,000 meals per week to those experiencing the most difficulty across West Lothian. “The beneficiaries receive a cooked chilled meal, with reheating instructions, for each day of the week, delivered direct to their door. This service is equalising access to fresh food during the pandemic and ensuring a healthier lifestyle in lockdown.”



“The funding we received went towards enabling us to deliver activity boxes to all our young carers. The impact has been very positive. By delivering these boxes we were able reach out to our young carers and their families, providing them with different communication methods to get in touch with us should they need additional support. During Covid-19, many young carers have found their anxieties have intensified and their caring roles have increased. Receiving this box and giving them the opportunity to participate in weekly activities, win prizes and feel part of a ‘community’ has been so important. It has helped them to come away from their caring role for a short period, to relax and have a break.”



A donation from Wooden Spoon turned an ad-hoc food parcel service for disadvantaged households into a reliable and regular offering. “We are so grateful to Wooden Spoon – the difference it makes to receive such packs is fantastic but the fact that other people care about these deserving families makes this difficult period slightly easier to live with.”



“The generosity of Wooden Spoon has enabled us to provide a safe haven for complexly-ill children who face an uncertain future and to create special memories with their families. The precious moments they enjoy together in our activity wing will create treasured memories that last a lifetime and we will be forever grateful to team at Wooden Spoon for their part in Reuben’s journey.”


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“stem4 booklets, generously supported by Wooden Spoon, provided tips on how to manage mental health, ways to keep up motivation, advice for enhancing social connection, information on the stem4 apps, support for families in managing different developmental needs, and mental health support for front line workers. The financial assistance from Wooden Spoon has made it possible for us to share this information to a wide range of individuals, and has been vital for many in providing early information and support. Thank you.”



“Thanks to Wooden Spoon, we now have a relaxing space for the whole community to enjoy. The Happy Place has been designed to provide a safe and relaxing space where young people can come and sit, think and quietly meditate. In a time where there are so many challenges to face, safe spaces such as these are invaluable in supporting the positive mental health of local residents.”



“The Wooden Spoon funding enabled headsets to be used for calls and video sessions when keeping in touch with the Young Carers and families during lockdown and for those who are still shielding. The headsets enabled conversations to remain private and confidential whilst staff and families adjusted to the new home-working environment. They have also meant some Young Carers who don’t usually attend workshops have been able to join in. All have enjoyed the sessions and it has keep them connected and engaged.”

To find out how Wooden Spoon has supported and helped to positively transform young lives near you, visit

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Wooden Spoon’s corporate supporters may have had to alter working patterns to cope with COVID, but they remained resolute in their support of others


DAPTABILITY was the order of the day for many of Wooden Spoon’s corporate supporters when the coronavirus pandemic curtailed common practice earlier this year. With social-distancing rules mandating a change in modus operandi, several of the children’s charity of rugby’s champions switched their play to deliver digitally. Leading law firm Irwin Mitchell was among those to embrace online operations, running a series of virtual events for clients and the wider community. The specialist solicitors also developed a COVID-safe means


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of conducting face-to-face appointments so that its legal experts could engage in person when necessary. Despite the challenges and commitments to court proceedings, the company still found time to support a selection of charities – including Wooden Spoon – as part of its Responsible Business programme. The firm has also agreed to take over and run a legal helpline service for England Rugby and to provide an online document service for member clubs across the country. The partnership will enable clubs to access 24-hour

legal and tax advice every day of the year, and download legal document templates such as contracts and GDPR notices. Another supporter to delve into the digital realm was Rugbytots, which introduced live online classes for children aged two to five in a bid to make classes more accessible than ever. The remote rugby sessions followed the usual format of the international play programme’s physical classes, with games tailored for home and using everyday equipment such as socks, tin cans, teddies and towels. Elsewhere, mouthguard manufacturer OPRO turned

its attention and resources to the fight on the front line. The company made its 3D printers available to Photocentric, which used the hi-tech kit to produce components for face shields for medical staff and care workers. OPRO founder Dr Anthony Lovat said: “Like many people, I have watched the COVID-19 crisis unfold and have been moved by the selflessness of our NHS. We have been working with Photocentric for 18 months now and when Paul Holt [managing director] contacted me to ask if we would loan them our suite of 3D printers to assist with the mass scale printing of


“It is incumbent upon all of us to help out however we can and I’m delighted that we can play our part in supporting the NHS and saving lives” – Dr Anthony Lovat, OPRO

protective face-shield parts for front-line medics, I said ‘yes’ without hesitation. Right now it is incumbent upon all of us to help out however we can and I’m delighted that we at OPRO can play our part in supporting the NHS and saving lives.”

Sportswear firm O’Neills also flexed its business muscles to tackle the pandemic’s spread – switching production from rugby jersey to personal protective equipment and crafting scrubs for health and social care workers. A spokesperson for the

company said: “We are delighted to play our part in supporting the work of front-line healthcare staff at this time.” Logistics specialist and long-standing Wooden Spoon supporter FedEx has also delivered in the battle to curb

the coronavirus pandemic. The company has played a critical role in transportation of COVID19-related supplies, including, but not limited to, PPE, clinical trials and medical equipment into and across Europe, and around the world.

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Our dynamic weekly play sessions enable boys and girls aged 2–7 to develop their social and physical skills in a fun, positive environment. For more details, just call or email.

0345 313 3242

The world’s favourite rugby play programme


HOSPICE AT HOME HEROES Children’s hospice credits Wooden Spoon support with restarting visits


HEN Jessie May’s funding “dried up overnight” as a consequence of coronavirus’ ripple effect, the children’s hospice at home service faced the dual challenge of paying its nurses and procuring the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for them to continue to deliver care. Restricted by social distancing regulations and facing a daunting deficit, the West Country-based charity had no choice but to pause its support of families throughout Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Bath. For those with a loved one with a terminal or life-limiting illness, the loss of expert outside help would have been felt keenly, according to Jessie May CEO Chris Roys. “As you can imagine learning that you have a child who is going to die is extremely emotionally distressing and stressful, so we support families through that journey from the point of diagnosis right the way through to when the child reaches the end of their life,” he told Spoonews. “We also support the families with end of life care. Many parents choose for their child to be able to die at home where they are surrounded by their family, friends, toys, pets and all those sorts of things, and we can be there for that.” A £5,000 donation from Wooden Spoon Bristol and Bath helped to ensure these invaluable services could resume, allowing the charity, which was set up by the parents of Jessica May Purrington – a little girl who died at home aged four months, surrounded by her family and her nurses, to meet the cost of visits. “Our funding largely dried up overnight,” said Chris, explaining how the cancellation of its own fundraising events and those of regular community supporters and sports clubs had hit the charity hard at a time of increased need. “Reduced funding means a reduced service. In normal times a lot of the children would have been going to school and had other

“In normal times a lot of the children would have been going to school and had other services coming in, but all of that stopped .” services coming in, but all of that stopped and the families were left to fend for themselves. “It has been a real challenge to raise funds, so the support of Wooden Spoon has been great. Thanks to the funding, we quickly got the PPE sorted out and were able to start doing visits again. “We prioritised those children who were most at risk of being hospitalised because at that time we were very anxious about exposing them to danger and also wanted to try to relieve the burden on hospitals.” Due to the restrictions in place, the number of visits conducted by nurses did fall, but were compensated for by the introduction of online services, with Jessie May’s new way of remote working including regular phone calls to parents and video calls to deliver bedtime stories to children. The easing of lockdown over the summer has done little to diminish the demand on the charity, with special schools heavily restricted in who – and how many – they can welcome back to class. “We are now prioritising those children who aren’t able to go back to school,” continued

Chris. “The families are having to deal with care all of the time and that means they can’t go back to work. “If you are caring for a child 24-hours-a-day, the stress and the emotional strain is huge. I admire those families who have been through this period and have come out of the other end still standing. It has been hugely difficult for them.” Bringing respite to these deserving households should be a source of immense pride for supporters of the children’s charity of rugby, concluded Chris. “We have been able to help in a small way and without Wooden Spoon we wouldn’t have been able to do that. Thank you ever so much for your support, it really has made a difference. “Obviously, the families would like us to be doing more but we have been constrained in so many ways. “We have been reassured that the telephone and video support has been helpful; just knowing that someone else is thinking about them and being able to offload and share some of the struggles is really important.”

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Wooden Spoon helps Mae Murray Foundation set up new ‘stream’ of support


OR the Mae Murray Foundation – an organisation focused on ensuring everyone is included and able to take part in activities regardless of their perceived disability – the consequences of coronavirus social distancing measures could have been incredibly stark. In addition to bringing an abrupt halt to its inclusive and valued activities, societal lockdown led to the Northern Ireland-based charity missing out on £80,000 worth of fundraising and, with no government support available, left it with the difficult challenge of

covering day-to-day running costs. Fortunately, Wooden Spoon Ulster’s swift intervention helped to establish a “new normal” for the hundreds of families who benefit from its daily sessions. With the financial support of the children’s charity of rugby, the Mae Murray Foundation was able to convert its usual calendar of music workshops, exercise classes and youth club meetings into a busy schedule of online events. The Foundation’s digital diversion – which boasted up to five streaming sessions per day and featured everything from chairbased aerobics, dance and drumming tuition to laughter yoga, magic shows and drama – was warmly received, with some of its videos clocking up 50,000 views a week. Such demand demonstrated the importance of the charity’s services and how vital Wooden Spoon’s contribution to maintaining them has been, according to Mae Murray Foundation’s Operations Manager Kyleigh Lough. “Our members are already at high risk of social isolation and poor mental wellbeing and lockdown brought that to a level that none of us have ever known,” she told Spoonews, explaining how the Foundation’s ethos of participation for all in leisure and social settings – regardless of

age or ability – chimes with that of the children’s charity of rugby. “Some of these young people need support to eat, to play, to learn, so it wasn’t like you could say just go outside and play for an hour.” Despite the greater need, Kyleigh concedes that the Foundation’s board feared the worst before Wooden Spoon’s intervention in early March, with the

“When Wooden Spoon contacted us we were delighted. It has helped enable us to survive and without it we wouldn’t have been able to provide the level of support to families that we have.” 24

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“The money meant young people had something to look forward to on a daily basis; it gave them structure and a way to connect with each other.” pandemic wiping out a succession of tried and tested fundraising events and bringing financial uncertainty to many households across the UK. “Much of our work and core costs rely on fundraisers so it became very clear that we may not have been able to support people in the way that we would like to unless we got external funding and assistance,” she added. “When Wooden Spoon contacted us we were obviously delighted. It has helped enable us to survive and without it we wouldn’t have been able to provide the level of support to families that we have.” Such support included the provision of a secure space for teenage and young adult beneficiaries to chat and socialise online; with those logging on benefiting from guidance on internet safety. Mae Murray Foundation’s efforts to rally around families to provide assistance and respite throughout the pandemic also extended to a one-on-one emotional support service, the delivery of prescriptions and

the provision of participation packs, which allowed those without adapted toys or musical instruments at home to join in the virtual fun. Reflecting on how the children’s charity of rugby’s contribution proved music to Mae Murray Foundation’s ears, Kyleigh concluded: “We would just like to thank Wooden Spoon’s supporters so much, as without

them our young people, many of them with complex disabilities, would have been forgotten about during the lockdown. “Instead, the money meant they had something to look forward to on a daily basis; it gave them structure and a way to connect with each other.”

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Cardiff charity praises Wooden Spoon Wales’ generous support

REVENTED from practising its handson embrace of those with profound learning disabilities, complex needs and behaviour which challenges, Touch Trust found itself at the brink of shut down in the immediate aftermath of lockdown. The social distancing measures introduced to curb the coronavirus pandemic had a catastrophic impact on the Welsh charity – which uses movement, music, touch and artistic disciplines to engage with children and vulnerable adults, many of whom are affected by PMLDs and autistic spectrum disorder; ruling out its traditional activities and primary source of income. Unable to operate and provide its paidfor services, the Trust initially warned its staff and creative facilitators of redundancy before being given valuable breathing space by the Government’s furlough initiative. However, while posts were saved by the Job Retention Scheme, the charity’s CEO Bev Garside still faced the prospect of being unable to deliver in-demand support at a time when it was needed the most. “We engage with people from where they are,” Bev told Spoonews, describing how the Cardiff-based charity’s valued multi-sensory and therapeutic activities would have been missed. “We usually take our sessions and our engagement to them rather than expecting them to engage with us. “This allows us to work with people who might not have language, they might have very limited independent movement and yet we can see real progress with them and that’s quite special.” Fortunately, Wooden Spoon Wales was not willing to see Touch Trust kicked into touch by Covid-19 and intervened with funding. The children’s charity of rugby’s donation enabled Bev’s staff to be trained to deliver digital sessions via Zoom and to offer its

“We could so easily have been one of the early victims of Covid and it was the people who support Wooden Spoon that really gave us a lift up and allowed us to try something new.” remote sessions for free. “The lockdown decimated us, and we could have been one of the early casualties,” Bev added. “It was down to organisations like Wooden Spoon, that not only gave funding but turned it around remarkably quickly, that helped to save us. We were absolutely amazed that our guests loved and could engage through Zoom sessions. “The children were able to meet with the facilitators that they knew and for the parents this was a lifeline.” Among the adults to benefit was the mother of a child with severe autism, whose son was showing no engagement with his school’s online sessions. However, when Libby – one of Touch Trust’s creative facilitators – sent a video recording to the boy, he watched the message through to the end before responding “see you in the summer”. “The mum was just in bits,” said Bev.

“That was the first time he had engaged in a meaningful way online. Those kinds of things are so, so, so special to us and without Wooden Spoon that kind of thing wouldn’t have been possible. “We could so easily have been one of the early victims of Covid and it was the people who support Wooden Spoon and their funding that really gave us a lift up and allowed us to try something new.” “The help came at a critical time and what was very special about Wooden Spoon was its pragmatic approach; you are not faced with a long application form. “It was a case of ‘we know you need it, tell us about what you need’ and it was turned around really quickly. “When you are in a state of panic they are the kind of friends you need – funders that believe in you and keep your head above water whilst you work out how you are going to paddle.”

“The lockdown decimated us, and we could have been one of the early casualties. It was down to organisations like Wooden Spoon, that not only gave funding but turned it around remarkably quickly, that helped to save us.” 26

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Wooden Spoon Scotland helps Cash for Kids to cater for those in need

FIVE figure contribution from Wooden Spoon Scotland helped to feed families from Fife to Falkirk when the coronavirus pandemic pinched household budgets during lockdown. The children’s charity of rugby donated £10,000 to Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids appeal, which called on listeners to raise funds to provide children facing disadvantage – through poverty, disability or illness – with vital essentials. Matching donations were also presented to Radio Clyde in Glasgow and Radio Northsound in Aberdeen. Wooden Spoon’s sizeable sum to Radio Forth was used to source and distribute food packages, toiletries and activity packs to homes across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and Falkirk and softened the financial blow of a series of cancelled fundraising events. Cash for Kids’ annual Tour de Forth – a scenic 100km cycle along the River Forth, which usually attracts a large number of sponsored riders and altruistic spectators – was among the Covid-19 casualties that left the charity facing an uphill climb to support those in need. Victoria Hendry, Radio Forth’s charity manager, said that Wooden Spoon’s efficiency and generosity in answering its plea for help had proved invaluable. “We knew that the families we work with – specifically those living in poverty – were going to be hit the hardest by the pandemic, so we set up an urgent appeal to our supporters and the listeners of the radio station,” she told Spoonews. “When Wooden Spoon donated, it was quite early in the pandemic and it was an absolute godsend for us. To hear that you are getting £10 is amazing but to get £10,000 made such a huge impact. We are a small, local charity so that £10,000 goes a really long way in helping

these kids. “If we hadn’t received the support then we simply would not have been able to help hundreds of children at the crucial point during lockdown. For the funding to have been at the height of the pandemic was really important to us. We want to say a massive thank you to those who support and are involved with Wooden Spoon.” As this issue of Spoonews went to

press, Cash for Kids had brought welcome relief to more than 7,400 children in the station’s surrounding communities and was continuing to build a fund from which grants will help families with children cover essentials such as food and heating. And further to rallying behind Radio Forth’s charitable drive, Wooden Spoon Scotland pledged £20,000 to The Larder to assist the social enterprise’s appetite for changing lives through food. One of the West Lothianbased charity’s specials is serving up cooking courses to tackle youth unemployment and it works directly with schools, community centres and businesses to do so.

“When Wooden Spoon donated, it was quite early in the pandemic and it was an absolute godsend for us. To hear that you are getting £10 is amazing but to get £10,000 made such a huge impact.” Autumn/Winter 2020


forever FUNDRAISING! If you are ssll in a posiion to support us, there are a number of things you can do:

Support us through Amazon Smile A small percentage of your online purchases will go to Wooden Spoon at no extra cost to you.

Take part in the Weather Lottery

For just £1 per week you can raise money for Wooden Spoon and be in with the chance of winning up to £25,000.

Set up a Facebook fundraiser

Whether it’s for your birthday or in memory of someone you love, your friends can donate in a few taps without leaving Facebook.

Set yourself a Virtual Challenge

Run from England to Scotland over 30 days or walk the length of a marathon from the comfort of your own home. Find out more at




OODEN Spoon demonstrated that it takes more than a global pandemic to stop it from helping others when it approved funding for two major projects in Scotland this summer. The children’s charity of rugby’s trustees signed off on support for Kidney Kids Scotland Charitable Trust and Beechbrae SCIO. The former, the only Scottish charity supporting children with renal/urology illness and their families, will receive a grant of £25,400 for dialysis equipment. Providing the funding for a brand new specialised machine capable of treating babies and very young children – in addition to older patients, Wooden Spoon

is helping Kidney Kids Scotland in its mission to provide treatment as close to home as possible and minimise disruption to households. Although the new machine will be located in the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow it will be used for the treatment of children from all over Scotland. Prior to Kidney Kids Scotland’s formation in 2000, there was

no haemodialysis available for very young children within the country and the machines procured during the intervening years must be periodically replaced. The team at the charity work closely and rely on the expertise of consultants, medical and welfare personnel to identify where help is most needed and support hospitals all over Scotland by supplying them with much needed equipment and funding for posts recognised as being essential. Beechbrae – a community-led social enterprise and charity based in Beechbrae Wood, near the village of Blackridge in West Lothian – is to receive a £25,000

to fund a kitchen within its new Woodland Centre. The facility will be primarily used by young people during various cooking classes and workshops, as well as expanding Beechbrae’s gardening, foraging and healthy eating programmes. The kitchen will sit at the heart of the Centre (pictured above), which has been designed to connect the local community with natural spaces and help those struggling with mental health. Although working with people of all ages, more than 80 per cent of those Beechbrae engages with are under 18 and from disadvantaged areas.

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Leave a lasting legacy and change the future for children with disabilities

With your legacy, we can make a lasting impact in your local community Wooden Spoon is a registered charity in England and Wales (Reg No: 326691) and in Scotland (Reg No: SC039247)




RUE to the old adage that mighty oaks from little acorns grow, funding from Wooden Spoon has helped a small team of military veterans to realise plans to construct a forest school that will enable children with severe learning difficulties to blossom. The children’s charity of rugby recruited Fusion Community Initiatives, which is staffed by former Service personnel, to complete the build of an accessible outdoor space at Old Hall School in Walsall. A team of 30 people, made up of volunteers and expert mentors, had been lined up to craft the earthly education facility but the coronavirus pandemic and social-distancing measures led to a drastically reduced workforce of just five. Undeterred by atrocious weather conditions in early October, Fusion’s veterans dug deep and completed their West Midlands mission in the space of a week. “Wooden Spoon and Fusion have helped to create a most tremendous and exciting forest school that we could have otherwise only dreamt about having,” said Head Suzanne Davies, explaining how Old Hall School caters for children with autism,

global delay and profound and multiple learning difficulties. “The project is allinclusive which means all of our children can benefit and access all areas. “Fusion were amazing and created this

project in the worst conditions possible but always had a smile on their face. We are all extremely grateful to both Wooden Spoon and Fusion for making this happen.”

“The project is all-inclusive which means all of our childen can benefit and access all areas”

Pictures: Matt Elliott / Words: Becky O’Malley

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ITH not even the capital’s most iconic race immune to the impact of coronavirus, the 40th chapter of the Virgin Money London Marathon’s history was like no other. The pandemic meant elite athletes had to compete on a closed-loop biosecure course in St James’s Park, while more than 36,000 amateur runners tackled their own sociallydistanced 26.2-mile routes in the allotted 24-hour timeframe. Throw in the absence of the usual cheering crowds and Storm Alex’s high winds and heavy rain, and the anniversary event on 4 October was characterised by change. There was, however, at least one familiar and reassuring constant from previous years – the sight of those lacing up wearing Wooden Spoon’s distinctive stripes. A total of seven runners completed the marathon-distance to raise money for the children’s charity of rugby, with Wales’ top try scorer Shane Williams and representatives of corporate supporters FedEx and Rugbytots among those braving blisters to positively transform young lives. Wooden Spoon supporter Simon Stevens, who ran the race in memory of police officer


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“Despite the awful weather conditions I would not have wanted to be anywhere else than running with friends and raising funds for a fantastic charity” Matt Ratana (page 43), told Spoonews: “I’m so glad I could do something in Matt’s honour. “It was a pleasure to run for Wooden Spoon and I also had a drink in the Windmill in Clapham, which – as a rugby-loving pub – backs the charity.” Victoria Green, who raised more than £2,600

for the children’s charity of rugby, added: “On reflection and once my legs finally felt like mine again, I can honestly say I really enjoyed the day. “The sense of achievement I felt straight afterwards and still now is incredible, what makes it feel even better is knowing I’ve raised


money which will be a huge help to families and children through Wooden Spoon.” Paul Hurley, who settled on a return trip from Radstock to Bath and was cheered along by friends and family in cars, said: “It was biblically cold but despite the awful weather conditions I would not have wanted to be anywhere else than running with friends and raising funds for a fantastic charity.” Another of the magnificent seven was marathon debutante Julie Lewis-Thompson, who got swept into the world of running earlier this year. The Okehampton Running Club member said: “Training through lockdown kept my mental health in check as a place to reflect and enjoy the world around me. “I never thought I would run my first marathon at 50, but I am now looking forward to doing the real event in London in 2021 having secured a place through Wooden Spoon. I am glad that I was able to raise a good sum for Wooden Spoon to support the tremendous work it achieves.” Applauding the efforts of the resolute runners, Sarah Webb, CEO of the children’s charity of rugby, said: “Well done to all our marathon men and women. “I am sure they are all very disappointed not to have been able to run the iconic race they had trained so hard for, however, the miles they have put in will make a huge difference to the children we support.”

Going the distance: Clockwise from above, Wales great Shane Williams; Simon Stevens; FedEx runners Tom, Dan and Darren; Julie Lewis-Thompson; Paul Hurley and Victoria Green

➤ Want to run a virtual marathon of your

own? Or perhaps walk, cycle or swim to earn sponsorship for the children’s charity of rugby? Visit to find out how you can help.

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ROM the concluding fixtures of the Six Nations to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, coronavirus has caused calendar chaos on a global scale. Consequently, it is no surprise that the children’s charity of rugby’s planned programme of fundraising events for 2020 has also been heavily hampered, with the pandemic behind a wave of postponements and cancellations. Wooden Spoon’s supporters have, however, proved resolute in their determination to swing into action and have holed vital money to help transform young lives whenever possible. Golf, as one of the first sports to return to near normal, has been at the forefront of driving funds, with a number of regions hosting Covid-compliant competitions. On September 3, Luffenham Heath Golf Club played host to Wooden Spoon Leicestershire’s annual tournament, which attracted 22 teams – including one all-ladies line up, raised £6,000 and saw Oadby Plastics top the leaderboard. At the third time of asking, Wooden Spoon Sussex was also able to hit the greens and drew 21 teams to its Rugby Clubs Championship at


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Cottesmore Golf and Country Club on September 11. Pulborough RFC dominated proceedings in terms of numbers, fielding four teams, but were unable to muscle

their way onto the podium with Chichester, Haywards Heath and East Grinstead finishing first, second and third respectively. Jimmy Francis’ longest drive gave the Pulborough crowd some cause for celebration, while Brighton’s Lee Raikes claimed the nearest to the pin prize at an event which raised £2,500 for the children’s charity of rugby. Wooden Spoon Scotland turned to the spectacular and newly-opened Dumbarnie Links in Fife for its first members’ golf day on October 1. Designed by former Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, the course offers some amazing views of the Firth of Forth across to East Lothian and Edinburgh and played host to 33 golfers in a highly-competitive affair that saw the top five card between 38 and 43 stableford points.

Generously sponsored by Arnold Clark Automobiles, Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, Dumbarnie Links, Loch Lomond Whiskies and The Ship Inn, the event raised £2,120. Wooden Spoon Kent’s Rugby Clubs’ Golf Challenge at Knole Park pitched in with a further £6,200 and saw Old Elthamians RFC finishing at the front of a 30 four-ball pack. Wooden Spoon Bristol and Bath opted for wine over woods to add their contribution to the year’s fundraising total. The region hosted an AP Kitchenssponsored tasting evening at Aldwick Estate that was attended by children’s charity of rugby ambassadors Phil de Glanville, Rhys Priestland, Harry Thacker and Piers O’Conor and raised more than £800. And there were also no pitches or putters on show when Wooden Spoon Dorset and Wiltshire arranged for partner club Warminster RFC to meet Warminster CC at the crease (pictured above). The code switchers proved victorious in a highly-competitive cricket fixture, which saw the rugby players – roared on by socially-distanced spectators – have little trouble in hitting boundary balls. *All events have operated under COVID-19 Government guidelines.




ITH the coronavirus pandemic wiping Wooden Spoon Wales’ annual lunch from this year’s menu, Spoonews decided to raise a celebratory glass and reflect on the past success of a fantastic fundraising feast. Since its first sitting in 2015, the showpiece event has become the hottest meal ticket in South Wales – selling out 450 seats within days of going on sale – and has now raised more than £83,000 for the children’s charity of rugby. The “Class of 87” were the toast of the debut dinner, which served as a reunion for members of the Wales squad that secured third place at the inaugural Rugby World Cup – the nation’s most successful tournament to date. Among those in attendance were Glen Webbe, Clive Rowlands, Adrian Hadley, Paul Thorburn and Wooden Spoon Wales Honorary President Bob Norster. With appetites whetted, two All Blacks legends – Zinzan Brooke and Sean Fitzpatrick – made for an excellent entrée in 2016 and were accompanied by Wales, British Lions and Barbarians stars Tom David and Steve Fenwick. A year later diners got to savour memories of the 1997 British Lions Tour to South Africa, with Paul Wallace (Ireland), John Bentley (England) and Neil Jenkins (Wales) sharing their tales of triumph from the Southern Hemisphere. Welsh greats returned to the lunch’s menu in 2018 as Tom Shanklin, Ryan Jones, Lee Byrne and Martyn Williams reminisced about Wales’ first Grand Slam win under Warren Gatland a decade earlier. Patriotism was also the order of the day last year as the children’s charity of rugby celebrated four men who have pulled on the illustrious number eight shirt for Wales – Colin Charvis, Scott Quinnell, Andy Powell and Eddie Butler. Key to the event’s popularity and smooth running has been Wooden Spoon Wales’ enduring partnership with The Concrete Society (Wales Region), to whom we owe a massive vote of thanks. In addition to managing the lunch’s administration, the co-host has periodically picked Wooden Spoon as its nominated charity – a gesture that has taken the fundraising total to in excess of £100,000. The support of sponsors Santander Group and Mapei (2015), Capital Law (2016, 2017 and 2018) and Watkins & Gunn Solicitors (2019), and silent auction partners The Events Room, has also been instrumental in delighting diners and helping to transform the lives of young people facing disadvantage across Wales. A special mention must go to the contribution of Sean Holley, who remains a popular host and is pivotal to the lunch’s success.


2015 2016 2017 2019

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N innovative duo from Stew Mel Lions U12s is raising money for Wooden Spoon Scotland by turning rugged rugby balls into classroom must-haves. The Rugby Recycled team, twin brothers William and Thomas Graves, are breathing new life into kit which would otherwise be consigned to landfill by turning the deflated into durable pencil cases and donating their profits to charity. Inspiration for the green initiative struck the Edinburgh brothers during a visit to the medieval French market town of Dinan last summer. “While on holiday with our mum and dad in 2019, we were looking for something to spend our holiday money on,” said the philanthropic pair. “One evening we came across a market stall selling recycled things, including wallets and pencil cases made from old rugby balls. We both love rugby and bought these immediately.” Fast forward to the 2019/20 rugby season and the boys’ squad at Stew Mel Lions were training hard, having fun and raising money for Wooden Spoon Scotland through car washes and bucket collections when COVID-19 intervened. Unable to continue with their planned activities


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LONG-DISTANCE LOCKDOWN the boys turned to memories from their trip to France and – aided by the donations of balls from various clubs and schools – began producing their pencil case range. Proud dad Adrian said: “They deserve all the credit for getting this project up and running and we have been amazed by the fact that people from across the UK and further afield have been in touch to donate old rugby balls and also purchase the pencil cases. “As a family we are aware of the great work that Wooden Spoon Scotland does to help disadvantaged and disabled young people and we were very keen to help in these tough times for all charities.” l

WELSH wing legend Shane Williams is no stranger to pushing his body to the limits for Wooden Spoon, and his recent fundraiser proved to be no different. One year after taking part in the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge, Wales’ all-time top try scorer swapped snowshoes for the saddle to complete a 774-mile virtual ride. Shane, who won 87 caps for his country, decided to tackle the Herculean distance to compensate for the charitable events he had committed to but saw cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 43-year-old former international took seven days to chalk off the miles, which he tackled in 14 sessions, and raised £11,500 for the children’s charity of rugby. Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon, thanked the serial fundraiser for his exceptional effort. “It would have been easy for someone like Shane to take a well-earned rest during lockdown, but he came through for us again and it is very much appreciated. It is an uncertain time for charities and we are delighted to have such a dedicated athlete in our squad.”




ONBRIDGE Juddians U14s squad saluted the return to fitness of their forwards coach – and Wooden Spoon Veterans player – Nigel Pooley following a stroke by tackling a demanding physical feat. Raising money for the children’s charity of rugby and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which helped nurse Pooley back to health, the Kent teenagers committed to performing 30 burpees for 30 consecutive days. Back-row star Joe Harris, who rallied his teammates to take up the challenge, said:“Burpees are a combination of star jumps and press ups and we all completed 30 every day of June. It was

“Young people face adversity like I have recently every day and rugby helps to teach them how to be resilient” exhausting but we all feel fitter and closer as a result.” The junior Juddians’ efforts proved infectious, with players from the Wooden Spoon partner club’s first XV and Academy

sides joining in the fundraising. A number of the children’s charity of rugby’s ambassadors also committed to crunches. Lee Mears, Kyran Bracken, Tamara Taylor, Shane Williams and

Matthew Carlier were among those to push the burpee count towards the 30,000 mark. Pooley, who spent 18 days in hospital in May, said: “Young people face adversity like I have recently every day and rugby helps to teach them how to be resilient. “It teaches skills and connects teammates, which can all help to defeat whatever life throws at you.” l To find out more about how to get involved with the Partner Club Programme visit or if you fancy a run out in stripes visit uk/sevens-rugby

Dream team: Charlie Bryden MBE (right) is flanked by former Scottish international Graeme Morrison

‘AN ACCOLADE FOR SCOTLAND’ A PIVOTAL figure in the success story of the children’s charity of rugby was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Charlie Bryden, long-standing chairman of Wooden Spoon Scotland, received the honour in recognition for his services to charity and rugby. The dedicated volunteer has worked tirelessly to raise funds to help improve the lives of disadvantaged children across Scotland and is meticulous in his approach to ensuring money goes to those who need it most.

Reflecting on the award, Charlie (pictured above right) told Spoonews: “The honour came completely out of the blue and my surprise and pleasure in being nominated in the first place, and then accepted, has been compounded by the many congratulatory messages that I’ve received since the news broke. “I have been completely overwhelmed by the messages and would like to think that the charity and members of our regional committee in Scotland recognise it as an accolade for their efforts and support as much as mine.”

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HEN the UK went into lockdown and was limited to one hour of exercise a day, a group of ex-Old Coventrians RFC players – known as “The Postmen” – decided to deliver a hefty package for Wooden Spoon. The rugby retirees opted to battle coronavirus restrictions and the British weather to complete a 136-mile coast-tocoast bike ride from Whitehaven to Sunderland to raise money for the children’s charity of rugby. Split into three groups of six to comply with COVID-19 rules, the former teammates’ first day on the road was blighted by torrential downpours and conditions were described by Hayden Sarjeant as being “like pelted with frozen peas”. While the weather improved,

the remainder of the trip was not without incident and one member of the philanthropic peloton spent some time in a hedge after his brakes failed. The riders’ reward for a weekend in the saddle and conquering a succession of steep hills was to be welcomed at the

finish line by Wooden Spoon Ambassador Tamara Taylor. The England ace, who has made more than 100 appearances for her country, said: “Well done to the Postmen who went the extra mile and smashed their fundraising target for Wooden Spoon.”

RUNNERS’ HARD DAY’S WORK THE longest day of the calendar year will have certainly felt longer than most for one group of Wooden Spoon supporters. Pulling on their running shoes for the children’s charity of rugby, a team of experienced runners spent 21 June tackling this year’s Summer Solstice Marathon – a punishing endurance event that sees entrants run one mile on the hour, every hour, for 24 hours. The Wooden Spoon running squad was made up of six LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge record-breakers, two Virgin Money London Marathon runners and a


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number of devoted family members and furry friends. One of the competitors, Miles Hayward, said: “Is running a marathon all in one go harder than over 24 hours? I’ve yet to run a full marathon of 26.2 miles in one go but having just run one over 24 hours I don’t want to do that again. “The first eight to ten hours were okay and went quickly but as the evening closed and the tiredness started to kick in, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish. The period between 1am and 4am was horrendous – feeling so tired but knowing I had to put

PEAK PERFORMER AS this issue of Spoonews went to press, Jon Ingarfield had set his sights on conquering nine of Britain’s tallest peaks in less than a week to raise funds for the children’s charity of rugby. The Triple, Triple Peak challenge will pitch the former Everest climber and two-time Guinness World Record holder against Snowdon, Crib y Ddysyl and Carnedd Llewelyn in Wales, Scarfell Pike, Scarfell and Helvellyn in England, and Ben Macduff, Braeriach and Britain’s tallest peak, Ben Nevis, in Scotland. Speaking of his motivation for tackling the mountainous mission, Jon said: “Research shows that one in 10 children in the UK and Ireland have a disability and there are 3.5 million children in the UK living in poverty. These numbers continue to rise and more and more children need Wooden Spoon’s help.”

my trainers back on and go outside to run another mile.” Miles’ determination to put in the miles certainly paid dividends, with the team raising £7,000 in sponsorship for the children’s charity of rugby. David Fenton – another of the Solstice survivors – arranged a raffle in aid of Wooden Spoon Yorkshire to boost the fundraising total. Impulse donated three items of sporting memorabilia to the draw, which boasted a Brian O’Driscoll signed keepsake and a Jonny Wilkinson-signed World Cup display as prizes.




WOODEN Spoon supported teenage mental health charity (page 19) has launched a new campaign targeting BAME [Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic] communities in those areas of London most affected by COVID-19. stem4’s government-backed scheme, which has also received funding from Comic Relief and The National Lottery, will provide support to vulnerable young people suffering problems as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. The charity’s initiative aims to address anxieties over cluster outbreaks in schools and colleges, which have exacerbated mental heath issues. The charity’s head of

fundraising, Caroline Cox, said: “We continue to experience high volumes of traffic to our website for our free downloadable and easily accessible resources. We have

been exploring ways to adapt our resources to maximise reach to suit COVID-19’s impact.” stem4 hosted the UK’s first ever Youth Mental Health Day in September, an event which

saw thousands of ambassadors, supporters and young people help increase awareness of the battles faced by some teenagers. The campaign reached 25,000 individuals through social media. Caroline continued: “We are grateful to everyone for sharing and supporting the day. With access still limited to psychological interventions and support structures, many more young people are turning to digital solutions and self-support and stem4’s suite of apps, and clinically-informed resources, offer much needed tools. “Concerns over the pandemic continue to contribute to negative effects on young people’s mental ill health.”

GET YOUR OLD SHOES TO SHINE The Rugby Boot Bank is a project pitched at kitting out the future generation of try scorers and tacklers. Recently launched, the scheme encourages players to donate – rather than throw away – unneeded rugby boots to benefit those who may not be able to afford to buy a new pair. The initiative already has a rich repository of boots, but is seeking further donations via its Facebook,

Instagram and Twitter pages (@rugbybootbank) or email All sizes, makes and styles are accepted and collection can be arranged across the UK. To be eligible for a pair of boots, a player must be playing or intending to play at a rugby union or league community club and be willing to donate outgrown boots back to Rugby Boot Bank. All requests are handled with discretion.

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FAREWELL TO GOOD FRIENDS Wooden Spoon has lost many valued supporters in recent months. Their legacies will never be forgotten...

DAVID HAMMOND “IT is with great sadness to hear of the passing of former Wooden Spoon Trustee and Chairman David Hammond following a short illness,” writes Nigel Timson, Co-founder and President of Wooden Spoon. “David, who acted as Chairman from 1994-2011, made a significant contribution to Wooden Spoon as a great administrator, visionary, and supporter of the charity. “Following education at Radley College he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and became a Fellow of the Institute of Taxation. In 1971 he joined Arthur Anderson, specialising in

taxation before moving to EMI to gain international experience. His forensic financial background, alongside his broad corporate experience, particularly with EMI, ADT (Deputy Chairman), and British Car Auctions (Chairman), bought a wealth of knowledge as he guided the children’s charity of rugby through a period of change. “A lover of the game, he was also Chairman of London Welsh RFC (1998-2006) during a transformational period in British rugby, following the emergence of the professional game in 1995. Somewhat unusually he was on the boards of both the England

RFU and Wales RFU. “Away from the rugby pitch he enjoyed golf as an active member of Temple

GC, near Maidenhead, and enthusiastically respected social responsibility as a trustee of CrimeStoppers UK, the independent charity formed to provide the public with a platform through which to report crime with 100 per cent anonymity. David had type 1 diabetes which he never allowed to define him. In 2012 he had a below-knee amputation which he saw as a challenge to be overcome, and he determined that he would be back playing 18 holes of golf within 12 months – a testament to his character, determination and stoicism.”

and the UK. For many years, and up until 2019, they would drive down to their apartment in Spain, where they would enjoy good walks, good company, good food and good wine. “In later life and once retired, David took on a new role. Whilst visiting Canterbury Cathedral, he started a conversation with the tour guide. That led to a pub drink in the early evening, followed by dinner. “The end result of their conversations was that David became a steward and guide at the cathedral. The Archdeacon of Canterbury Cathedral, The Venerable Jo Kelly-Moore, officiated at David’s funeral service in March. “David was full of life, friendly and hugely enthusiastic in all that he did. He had the will,

desire and determination to succeed, and aided and supported by Jill, was particularly proud of the help Wooden Spoon afforded to disadvantaged children during his many years with the charity.”

DAVID ROBERTS WOODEN Spoon is mourning the loss of the charity’s first chief executive – and one of its inaugural members – following the death of David Roberts (1934-2020) after a period of short illness. “David was very much involved with Wooden Spoon since its formation in 1983,” writes Nigel Timson, Co-founder and President of Wooden Spoon. “He was a key organiser of Wooden Spoon’s first golf day at Farnham GC in September 1983, and was the architect of the regional network that is still in place today, and which continues to be the cornerstone of the charity. “With his wife Jill, whom he met at an amateur dramatics group, and colleague Tony Richards, he toured the


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country helping and supporting new regions with their golf events and dinners. He also helped regions with their administration, and induction into the ‘Wooden Spoon way’. “A larger than life character, David’s early business career included a spell with HR Owen, a London-based vehicle retailer, selling Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and Jaguar cars. In the mid 1970s he founded Green Barbour Ltd, a successful catering and automated vending business operating around London and the Home Counties. “David loved rugby – especially Welsh rugby, proudly singing the Welsh national anthem in his native language at every opportunity. “David and Jill enjoyed travelling, particularly in Europe


ALEX PINCUS ALEX Pincus, who has died at the age of 80, was instrumental in the formation of Wooden Spoon Sussex and managed in excess of 30 projects, costing more than £500,000, for the region. He was appointed as the region’s Deputy Chairman in 2005 and never relinquished his post. Bob Rogers, Honorary President of Wooden Spoon Sussex, said: “Alex had a hand in each and every Sussex project. His fingerprints are on every one of the 32 projects opened since the region was established. He worked tirelessly on any application for funding for projects large and small for

the benefit of disadvantaged children.” During his time with Wooden Spoon the Brighton Rugby Club

stalwart was responsible for monitoring all applications for support as well as seeking out local institutions that needed help. He guided applicants for funding through the process, organised inspection visits, ensured costs were appropriate, monitored progress and arranged formal openings. Sandy Fleming, Chairman of Wooden Spoon Sussex, said: “A great many disadvantaged children and young people across Sussex owe Alex a huge debt of gratitude. I appreciated Alex’s passion for life in general and since becoming chairman I found his wise counsel invaluable.”



WOODEN Spoon Lancashire is mourning the loss of one of its long-standing patrons, Charlie Pedley, to coronavirus. Remembering Charlie’s generosity, Martin Long, the region’s chairman, said: “Having supported all our events during a 20-year period, I particularly remember him regularly stepping in and making bids for auction items whenever bidding stalled. Charlie was a real character and a popular member of the local business community,

WOODEN Spoon Sussex Chairman Sandy Fleming has paid tribute to Alan Jenkins – a familiar face to all involved with the charity in the region. A friend of more than 20 years, Sandy remembered “a proud Welshman with rugby coursing through his veins”. Bob Rogers, Honorary President of the region, described him as “an indispensable member of the team whose organisational skills were apparent, particularly at our annual ‘Cricket meets Spoon’

and of Blackpool North Shore Golf Club. Our thoughts are with his wife Jackie and their children and grandchild.”

FERGUS KING IN Fergus King, the North East of England has lost a great ambassador for sport and a keen supporter of Wooden Spoon.

Former committee colleagues Graham Nicholas and Peter Harbidge also paid tribute to Alex’s tireless support for Sussex Spoon. “He was a great liaison man for all projects,” said Graham. “He was also an excellent speaker and a star turn at many Wooden Spoon events over the years.” The region’s treasurer, Ann Holt, added: “Alex gave his time and energy to the world of rugby and then for the past 16 years to Wooden Spoon.” Bob Rogers concluded: “Alex was a true friend and valued colleague and will be missed by all who knew him.”

lunches as well as on our tenth anniversary bike ride”. He added: “Alan’s crowning glory was to arrange two fantastic pre-match brunches when the Rugby World Cup came to Brighton in 2015.

JAMES HUXTABLE The Durham City Rugby Club President was awarded an MBE for his services to rugby and the environment in 1998. His passion for the game led to a coaching role at the University of Durham Rugby Club, which resulted in him being awarded the Vaughan Parry Williams Award for his national contribution to the student game.

JAMES Huxtable tragically lost his life in an accident in London on 17 March 2018 aged 24. He was a passionate rugby player, starting as a child with Wellington RFC and Taunton RFC, as a student at Bath University, then Redruth RFC and moved on to Belsize Park RFC in London after starting a job in the city. James was involved in a series of coast path walks on behalf of Wooden Spoon Cornwall. A much loved son and brother, he will continue to be dearly missed by family and friends.

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MIKE SANDERS WOODEN Spoon Scotland supporters were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Mike Sanders in early April. A steadfast supporter of the children’s charity of rugby, the 75-year-old was a regular face at fundraising events and attended last year’s Edinburgh Dinner and pre-Calcutta Cup lunch in February. Originally from Buxton in Derbyshire, he was a keen sportsman and, following his move to the Scottish capital, became heavily involved at Edinburgh Northern RFC, serving as President between 2006 and 2009. On hearing the news of Mike’s death, Wooden Spoon Scotland

MIKE SLEMEN Chairman Charlie Bryden said: “Over the years Mike, his wife Pat and their twin daughters Emma and Katie have been staunch supporters of Wooden Spoon and become good friends to many of us. I shall miss seeing his ever cheery face and my thoughts are with his family at this time.” While heading up Honda in Scotland, Mike very generously sponsored events and gifted numerous novel and generous auction and raffle items to the children’s charity of rugby. Following his retirement a few years ago, he and Pat continued to support the Edinburgh events on a regular basis. Wooden Spoon Scotland’s Joint Honorary President Gavin Hastings added: “Mike was a hugely gregarious man, he was always smiling and fun to be around, whenever I had the opportunity I enjoyed being in his company. He had a fantastic attitude to life and he will be sorely missed by his wife and daughters and the wider rugby family in Scotland and beyond.”

WOODEN Spoon was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mike Slemen, the Honorary President of Wooden Spoon Merseyside and an outstanding rugby player who was part of England’s Grand Slam-winning team of 1980. The winger played his club rugby for Liverpool, represented Lancashire, North of England and England, for whom he gained 31 caps between 1976 and 1984 and notably toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 1980. In his role as Honorary President, Mike attended many fundraising events including the hugely popular Merseyside Christmas Lunch, which has helped the regional branch raise more than £350,000

to fund community projects supporting children and young people with disabilities or facing disadvantage. Wooden Spoon Merseyside Chairman Stan Bagshaw described him as “a true gentleman, great family man and one of the finest wing men that England ever produced”. “Mike will be sadly missed by all in the rugby fraternity,” Stan concluded.

JOHN WILMSHURST JOHN Wilmshurst died in May of Covid-19. The Crowborough rugby club stalwart – and former player along with son James – was a big supporter of Wooden Spoon and attended many dinners.

CHRISTOPHER EMMS A KEEN sportsman, rugby supporter and champion of Wooden Spoon has died following a battle with cancer. Born on 30 March 1937, Christopher spent part of his early childhood in Australia, having been evacuated Down Under with his mother at the age of three. On his return to the UK he was educated at Haileybury and I.S.C, where he excelled in many sports, including athletics, swimming, boxing and rugby. Christopher qualifed as a chartered surveyor after leaving school and joined Woodford Rugby Club, where he was a regular 1st XV player for many


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seasons and led the side as captain in 1964/65. The sporting all-rounder

represented Essex and Eastern Counties and was a staunch supporter of the England rugby

team – hardly ever missing an international fixture at Twickenham and travelling across the UK and Europe to take in away matches. Christopher had a longstanding goal to revisit Australia and he fulfilled his dream in style, returning in 2003 – the year in which England lifted the Rugby World Cup. The children’s charity of rugby supporter died on 1 May 2020 from the effects of prostate cancer and is mourned by his devoted partner Yonca Ozkaya, his three daughters, seven grandchildren and his close family and many friends.




OODEN Spoon Sussex partner club East Grinstead RFC has paid tribute to a friend and “remarkable rugby hero” following the death of head coach Matt Ratana, who was killed in the line of duty on 25 September 2020. Remembering the veteran police sergeant, club president Andy Poole said: “Matt was devoted to the club, the coaching staff and to every single player that ran onto the pitch. It was an absolute privilege to watch him coach, his level of detail was outstanding and his enthusiasm for rugby just inspiring. “As a head coach for the last three seasons and a personal friend to me and so many others at the club, Matt was always bringing in new and exciting ideas and was a true role model, mentor and often father figure. “A Kiwi with an infectious laugh, who loved to chat, making time for anyone who crossed his path. “One of Matt’s goals was to return to the London Leagues. Last season the squad made significant progress towards this, coming runners up in the Sussex Cup and securing a promotion play-off, which was curtailed by the lockdown. Our

Colts development squad was unbeaten and within sight of winning both Premiership and Cup titles. “He was totally committed to supporting and developing young players and with so many ambitious plans, he never stopped motivating others and advancing rugby within in the club, especially during these difficult times of COVID-19.” The Sussex club laid a blue and white club wreath at Croydon Custody Centre and flew the New Zealand national flag and All Blacks colours to honour the coach’s Kiwi roots. Two periods of silence were observed during junior and intermediate training sessions on 27 September (pictuted below) – sessions Andy said Matt “would never have let us cancel”. The president continued: “Senior players, friends, family, community and rugby officials spontaneously gathered to reflect on Matt’s tremendous service to the game of rugby and the Metropolitan Police. “East Grinstead RFC has been overwhelmed with tributes, messages, emails and remembrance videos from around the globe and we would like to thank everyone for their kindness and support. We are

standing together and the rugby family have been incredible during these darkest of times. “Our members will have our full support for as long as is needed and our thoughts are

with Su and Matt’s family, friends and colleagues. Matt has earned the admiration of the world and his legacy will live on at East Grinstead RFC. The club door is always open. Kia Kaha.”

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COMING UP From golf days to cycle rides, our regions host a huge range of exciting events each year. The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation and postponement of many popular fixtures, but below is a snapshot of surviving dates for your dates. Visit for the very latest list NOVEMBER

Picture: Marek Szturc on Unsplash

Guernsey Guernsey online auction pealauction

12 JULY 2021 Chilterns Chilterns Golf Day



Worcestershire Jamie McDonald: Adventureman webinar

Bristol, Bath and Somerset Black tie gala dinner and auction



Worcestershire Christmas First Thursday

Shropshire Shropshire Golf Day

19 MAR

11 MARCH 2021


Wales Spring lunch Concrete society

11 SEPTEMBER 2021 Wales Saturday bike ride fundraiser

19-26 MARCH 2021


National Lapland Husky Trail

National National Rugby Clubs Golf Final

20 MARCH 2021


Guernsey 6 Nations finals day

Isle of Man Murder mystery dinner

25 MARCH 2021 Surrey Sportsman’s dinner

26 MARCH 2021 Lancashire Fylde RFC Sportsmans Luncheon

29 APRIL 2021 Durham Durham Golf Day

Birthday Lunch (sold out)

4 JUNE 2021 Surrey Annual Golf Day

18 JUNE 2021 National Three Peaks Challenge

3 JUNE 2021 Ulster Willie John McBride’s Belated 80th


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15 OCTOBER 2021

Picture: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Lancashire Annual Golf Day Sussex Rugby Clubs Golf Championship

24 JUNE 2021 Wales Golf day

Wales Autumn lunch

21 OCTOBER 2021 Wales Quiz

19/21 NOVEMBER 2021 Surrey Rugby Clubs’ Curry Lunch

2 JULY 2021 Cornwall Golf Day at Lanhydrock Hotel and Golf Club

All events are subject to change due to COVID-19, in line with government guidelines



REGIONAL REACH Want to join our growing squad? Contact your nearest neighbour below and make a difference to the lives of children in your own community... BEDFORDSHIRE




Chairman: Oliver Richbell

Chairman: Rob York

Chairperson: Vacant

Chairman: Brian Hodges





Chairman: Bob Densley

Chairwoman: Karen Solway

Chairman: Roger Smith

Chairman: Sandy Fleming





Chairman: Chris Henkey

Chairman: Tony Wilkin

Chairman: Stan Bagshaw

Chairman: Peter Wood





Chairman: Alan Milliner

Chairman: John Batters

Chairperson: Chris Fountain

Chairman: Huw Thomas





Chairman: John Cunningham

Chairmen: Allan Thompson/Peter Jenkins

Chairman: Anthony Stoker

Chairman: Ian Holroyd





Chairman: Roger Haywood

Chairman: Roger Trower

Chairwoman: Diane Orson

Chairman: Martin Owen





Chairman: Brett Bader

Chairman: Richard Russ

Chairman: Will Deeley

Chairman: John Gibson





Chairman: Paul Tully

Chairman: Martin Long

Chairman: Charlie Bryden

Chairman: Stuart Watson




Chairman: Séamus Farrelly

Chairman: Malcolm Foulkes-Arnold

Chairman: Chris Bristow




Chairmen: Richard Austin/James Crouch

Chairman: Niall Browne

Chairman: Trevor Jenkins

Nowhere near you? If you would like to represent the children’s charity of rugby in your area, please contact

Autumn/Winter 2020



Wheelchair rugby part of partner club’s latest drive for inclusivity

WINDON St George has become the first community-based grassroots rugby league club to join Wooden Spoon’s initiative to support vulnerable children. As new members of the charity’s Partner Club Programme, the Wiltshire outfit will support the children’s charity of rugby’s fundraising efforts while raising the profile of its teams. Swindon St George currently runs two competitive men’s teams and boasts a flourishing youth section, as well as wheelchair and learning disability rugby league sides. The benevolent club also runs a care programme, promoting mental health and wellbeing to its members and surrounding community. Richard White, the club’s chairman, said: “The partnership with Wooden Spoon itself is a key and integral part of what we are looking to create at the club as we continue


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to push forward with being an inclusive club at the heart of our local community.” The partnership follows a £8,550 grant from Wooden Spoon Dorset and Wiltshire in 2014, which funded 10 specialist wheelchairs for the club’s wheelchair rugby league and basketball teams and has bolstered participation numbers. Richard added: “Historically there has been a Swindon St George rugby league wheelchair team in Swindon so we already know that there is interest for it and that there is a successful model in place for us to work from. “Work has already well and truly begun off the field to make sure that the club hit the ground rolling as soon as it is safe for the wheels to resume training.” Of the partnership, Brett Bader, chairman of Wooden Spoon Dorset and Wiltshire, concluded: “It is fantastic to see the drive

and enthusiasm from the club and their future plans to support young people within their community with opportunities”. l Want to find out more about becoming a Wooden Spoon Partner Club? We would love to hear from you. By teaming up, we can raise funds to support both your rugby club and projects for disadvantaged and disabled children and young people in your area. Open to all rugby clubs in the UK and Ireland, the programme provides an opportunity to work with us to change children’s lives and secure mutual long-term gains through joint fundraising initiatives. Partner clubs will benefit from our promotional prowess, merchandise, costsaving savvy, celebrity contacts and strong links with the rugby community. Visit to find out more.

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