Thetford Rugby Club Launch a Lottery to Raise Funds
Thetford Rugby Club have become the latest club to launch a Sports Club Lottery. The club, based in Norfolk, decided to start their very own lottery to raise funds to develop their teams, equipment, pitch and facilities.
The club was started in 1959 by Bill Jennings, David Cunningham and John Clark, playing at different venues around the town until in 1970 building their own club house at Two Mile Bottom. The current chairman is Nigel Goodall.
Q&A with the Chairman
Q. How long have you been involved and what first attracted you to the club?
“I started at the club in Autumn 1977 after moving to the area. I arrived one Saturday afternoon to see what was going on and was met by 2 stalwarts, John Bullard and Mike Edwards who immediately made me feel welcome. Following week I turned up for the fourth team under John’s captaincy, was asked what position I played, “hooker” said I, and was immediately placed at outside centre, welcome to Thetford Rugby Club! It was quite common under Johns captaincy to set out for an away game with just 9 players and hope to recruit on the way, that’s the sort of club it was and is one of the many reasons I have been associated with it for 41 years. It is a really friendly, sociable club with no airs or graces and warmly welcomes all. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have been Club captain, President and now Chairman but, as they say, it’s not about me but all the others that have given their time over the years.”
Q. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your role?
“The most challenging are the myriad of different things that go into the running of the club that, until you do it, you have no idea of. The club does not just function over the playing season but all year round as a venue for a whole range of events for the local community from Dog Shows, Scooter club Rallies, Bike shows, Touch Rugby tournaments, private parties to corporate events which all need organising and making sure run smoothly. We have a core of wonderful volunteers who look after the pitches and grounds, club house, finances, bar, food etc but as always we could do with more as it is all extremely time consuming. In season the club is used as a venue for Eastern Counties youth groups training, as we have a very well drained pitch and flood lights, so it can often be in use 4-5 times a week which puts a great strain on the pitch as you can imagine and needs careful management. On the rewards side there is the pleasure of watching entertaining fast flowing rugby from a squad of lads that obviously enjoy playing and being together under the tutelage of our head coach Nigel Brown, the very successful VP’s lunches where all the past players and local dignitaries etc can have a great afternoon reminiscing and telling how the game should be played, and keeping the club in good heart and financially stable in these ever challenging times. The rewards outweigh the challenges, most of the time!”
Q. How’s the general mood down at the club at the moment?
“The mood is excellent, both on and off the pitch, helped by the last few seasons successes. The 1st team are currently in London 3 Eastern Counties and our 2nd team , the Heathens, in Eastern Counties Div 3 (North) have more than held their own last year. The VIP’s lunches are going from strength to strength with old players returning to the club to lend their support as sponsors and spectators.”
The Future for Thetford RUFC
Q. What are your plans for the year?
“We are looking forward to a good start to the season, training is going well with good attendance. The pitch is responding well to the tender loving care after the challenging summer and should be in good heart for whatever the winter throws at us, the training lights are being completely overhauled, we are installing a Trim Trail for all the community and thus bringing the club and the community together, and there is the small matter of the attempt at the Longest Game Of Rugby being held at the club! Also, as ever, we are looking to recruit more players and volunteers to continue our progress.”
Q. How important is youth rugby to the club?
“It is very important, Andy Soanes has done a great job in building up the Youth side over the last few years and is standing back a little this year and so we are looking for more willing volunteers to carry on his good work. We have seen his young players moving up into the senior ranks which is very satisfying, it started from small beginnings and it is something we are very keen to build on.”
Q. Would you consider yours to be a community club?
“Very much so, with the new Trim Trail going in, the numerous local events taking place as outlined, the use of the club house and grounds open to all we feel we are very much part of the local community.”
Q. What do you believe could be some of the biggest challenges the club may face in the coming years?
“Continuing recruitment of new players, particularly specialised front row, attracting more volunteers to spread the load, keeping the finances in good shape whilst needing to invest in the club house and expand where possible. Also we wish to keep to the traditions and beliefs of a truly amateur club which, as we progress, will be ever more challenging.”
Q. What are the clubs ambitions for the next five years?
“To continue to develop organically and move up the leagues whilst retaining our amateur status, to increase the youth section for continuity, to strengthen in depth the playing squad, to develop the club house so as to accommodate more teams and larger events. We rent our ground at the moment and there are possibilities there, also joint ventures with other sports in the area have been muted.”
Rugby Club Lotteries
Thetford RUFC are the latest rugby club that have decided to raise uncapped and reliable funds with a Sports Club Lottery. Their supporters play their lottery for just £1 a week, knowing that all profits go to the club they love. All the lottery prizes are paid out by the External lottery administrators, Prize Provision Services. They also provide marketing materials and support. Prize Provision Services take care of the admin and details of all the lottery players. This gives Thetford Rugby Club the free time to promote their lottery, run their club, and raise important funds to keep it going!
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