At the start of the autumn, the Isle of Man rugby community welcomed the Wasps Legends rugby teams – both men’s and ladies’ – to the Island for a weekend of sporting and fundraising activities supported by the Wealth & Investment Management division of Barclays.
The weekend kicked-off with a black tie dinner for 250 guests held at the Palace Casino Hotel and hosted by Peter Scrivener. A great evening was had by all as guest speakers Serge Betsen, Andrew Gomarsall MBE and Roger Uttley OBE entertained attendees with stories of their fantastic careers on the pitch.
The following day, the Legends took part in a training session for 200 minis and juniors from various schools and rugby clubs from around the Island. This was followed by a rugby game between the Wasps ladies and the Isle of Man ladies side. Despite the Isle of Man losing 54-0, the game helped breathe some new energy into women’s rugby on the Island.
The men’s game followed, with an Isle of Man Select XV against the Wasps Legends. This was a great opportunity for many of the Island’s older players to rub shoulders with some of their heroes. The game was competitive, played in the highest of spirits and produced a very free flowing game of rugby, which the Legends won 59-29.
The weekend raised almost £40,000 for the RFU’s chosen charity, Wooden Spoon which is a children’s charity founded in 1983 that is dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and young people lead happier and richer lives. £26,500 of this total was raised with the help of Barclays volunteers who provided marshals and stewards, helped with the raffle and various other fund raising activities throughout the weekend with the sum raised matched £for£ by Barclays.
The money raised during the weekend was used to fund a project providing PlayBins for the primary schools of the Island, the first of which was opened officially by Roger Uttley OBE during his visit. Whilst in the Island, Serge Betsen, Andrew Gomarsall MBE, Sue Day and Fiona Stockley had a look round the Isle of Man’s Wheelchair Sports Club, the funds for which were provided by the Isle of Man Branch of the Wooden Spoon last year.
The weekend was organised by John Bateson and supported by Sebastien Jeanneau from Barclays. John said: ‘The entire Wasps legends squad epitomised everything rugby stands for – community spirit, great banter, competition on the pitch and the building of some lasting friendships. A lot of business cards were exchanged and contacts made and there will undoubtedly be some great business opportunities explored as a result.
‘The weekend was undoubtedly a great success and the rugby community of the Isle of Man will be forever grateful for their visit. Throughout their visit, Legends showed why the game is so highly respected the world over. They are all superb ambassadors for the game and for Wasps. With their assistance we were delighted to be able to raise a fantastic amount of money for a great charity that is making a real difference in our community.’