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Richmond Rugby kick-off 160th year with NHS fundraising campaign

Richmond Rugby club have begun their 160th year with a campaign designed to raise much-needed funds for the NHS.

The campaign, known as the 1861 Challenge is open to everyone at the club, with the aim of keeping everyone engaged, fit, and healthy while raising funds for a good cause in the process.

The club have asked all participants to make a £18.61 donation to NHS Charities Together, to support NHS workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former first-team fullback and current Heavies Veterans team secretary Matt Brown said: “We have had six teams across the club involved from the minis, youth, women’s, and men’s sections, Heavies and even a supporters’ group.

“Each section has pulled together over the 18-day challenge and pushed each other on to do as much as everyone can. The current total means we have travelled to the moon and have made it back to earth!”

The club, who were founded in 1861, have already exceeded their £3,000 target, with the campaign ending yesterday.

Brown said: “We have achieved our aim of getting just under 150 people across all the age ranges at Richmond Rugby club involved in the challenge.

“We felt with the January lockdown and people staying at home, we could do something to motivate everyone to exercise every day and hopefully see out what was going a tough couple of things weeks and it has worked.”

The campaign, which began on 11 January, has seen 18 days of fitness and variety of rugby skill challenges.

While there are currently no specific plans for another NHS fundraiser, Richmond Rugby have stated their intention to organise a similar campaign in the near future.

Brown said: “Some of the Richmond Heavies need at least a week or two of rest. However I think with the lockdown continuing we will look into organising another activity-based challenge towards the end of February or March.”

One challenge participant said: “I have been a post-COVID couch potato for the last six months and it’s taken this challenge to get me exercising again!”

Featured image credit: Richmond Rugby

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