​Royal Patron’s latest visit is icing on 5th Birthday cake for Angus rugby charity

​Royal Patron’s latest visit is icing on 5th Birthday cake for Angus rugby charity

The Earl of Forfar joined participants in the Walking Rugby project run by the award-winning Angus rugby charity he became Royal Patron of in 2020 and talked to some of the young volunteers it has developed into coaches as it celebrates its fifth birthday.

As part of an afternoon of visits to community projects in Forfar, The Earl of Forfar visited the Inchmacoble Park home of Strathmore RFC, where Strathmore Community Rugby Trust, started by its Chair, Stuart Gray, in June 2017, runs a number of projects designed to increase public participation in sport to benefit their health and wellbeing and develop young people into healthy, positive members of the community.

The Earl was welcomed by Her Majesty’s Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Robina Addison OBE, and Stuart Gray before being presented to Angus Deputy Provost, Councillor Linda Clark, Mrs Margo Williamson, Chief Executive of Angus Council, Trust Manager Maggie Lawrie, Bob Baldie, President of Strathmore RFC and Councillor Gavin Nicol.

His Royal Highness heard about the aims, benefits and rules of play of its Walking Rugby project for adults physically unable to play conventional rugby from trust Community Project Leader Jim Kiely while seeing its coaches and participants playing, before joining in a short game himself and chatting afterwards with the players and coaches.

Next His Royal Highness, who became the trust’s Royal Patron in August 2020 after seeing some of its projects on The Earl’s July 2019 visit to Forfar alongside The Countess of Forfar, met trust staff and volunteers in the Clubhouse.

There His Royal Highness spoke to Community Project Worker Blair Butchart and young Community Project Assistants (CPAs) Arron Jackson, Euan Duguid, Mia White, Lily Campbell and Hamish Cumming.

Most of them have progressed from the trust’s Rugby Academy – which provides secondary school pupils with life and rugby skills in term-time Friday afternoon sessions – to voluntary coaching of its award-winning Autism Friendly Rugby and on to becoming paid CPAs as well as playing for Strathmore RFC and pursuing sports-related careers via college courses.

Finally, The Earl cut the trust’s fifth birthday cake before departing.

HRH The Earl of Forfar cut the trust’s 5th birthday cake after talking to Community Project Worker Blair Butchart (left) and young Community Project Assistants about how the trust has developed them in their rugby, into coaches and project assistants and as people. They are (from second left) Lily Campbell, Hamish Cumming, Euan Duguid, Mia White and Arron Jackson.

HRH The Earl of Forfar joins in a game of Walking Rugby with regular players and coaches in the trust’s project. Pictured defending are (left) Bob Baldie, President of Strathmore RFC and (right) Willie Gray.

The trust was founded in 2017 to increase public participation in sport, particularly rugby union and rugby league, in the Forfar, Kirriemuir and Brechin areas to benefit community health and wellbeing as well as develop young people into healthy, positive members of the community through the positive ethos and values of rugby.

It pursues those goals through eight projects for people of all ages and abilities, including rugby for primary children with or undergoing diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their siblings, Walking Rugby for adults, Unified Rugby for adults and youths with disabilities and a Rugby Academy for senior school pupils to learn life as well as rugby skills.

The trust’s work, done in partnership with Strathmore RFC, Brechin RFC, Scottish Rugby and Scotland Rugby League, has been recognised at the Scottish Charity Awards with the Pioneering Project Award in 2020 for the ASD rugby project and is partly funded through sponsorship from local businesses and organisations as well as national charitable bodies such as The National Lottery.

After becoming Royal Patron in 2020, The Earl said: “It is charities like Strathmore Community Rugby Trust and the brilliant people that run them that provide such wonderful opportunities for all. This is an organisation that the community of Forfar and Angus should be proud of and I sincerely hope that with your support and encouragement will continue to grow and flourish."

Speaking about the visit of its Royal Patron, Trust Chair, Stuart Gray, said: “We’re greatly honoured to have His Royal Highness visit the trust again, this time in his role as our Royal Patron, as we mark five years promoting and aiding health and wellbeing for all ages through our rugby-based projects.

“Thanks to all involved, including our funders and sponsors as well as our partners Strathmore RFC, Brechin RFC, Scottish Rugby and Scotland Rugby League, for their continuing support. We’re keen to speak to potential sponsors about projects we plan to launch in the coming months.”

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