The commercial team at Heath Rugby Club teamed up with former Heath junior Alastair Chisholm who, while playing for Richmond in The Championship, now also works for sports marketing agency SNAP sponsorship, to hold the first fund raising Heath City Lunch in London last Friday, writes Tracey Spuyman.
The overall objective was to create an environment that would engage Club members while raising funds for essential projects such as a new roof at the Clubhouse and urgent attention to an ailing boiler before the winter sets in.
A crowd of over 80 were welcomed to the event by Club Chairman Mark Newey which took place at Brasserie Blanc on the South Bank with the support of important local sponsors including Mansell McTaggart, Pets Corner, Besana, Kalimex, Dig Gardens, Bespoke Law, Woodhouse Creative and Swan Print.
During the afternoon there was an auction led by professional auctioneer Mark Head who helped encourage take up of a number of outstanding sporting memorabilia and experiences including a Harlequins match, signed shirt and coaching session, afternoon tea and overnight stay at the Waldorf Hilton London, a limited edition print of England Grand Slam champions 1995, a morning on the gallops at Gary Moore’s stables followed by racing at Plumpton, a week in a ski chalet and an England shirt signed by Jonny Wilkinson.
There was also a silent auction that included the weekend use of a car from Vines BMW, a cricket bat signed by Freddie Flintoff, a copy of The British & Irish Lions history book signed by five former Lions, a tour of Blackdown Ridge Estate vineyard, a four ball at Mid Sussex Golf Club and a signed Saracens shirt. Something for everyone and so it unfolded as bidding became fiercely contested and much-needed funds were raised for the Club.
The afternoon was topped off by some very special rugby guests - first Ali Chisholm talked to his brothers James and Ross, both professionals at Harlequins and all former Heath juniors, about their memories of playing at Heath and their rugby experiences to date.
Then Chris Jones, BBC Rugby Correspondent interviewed the affable Schalk Brits - widely acknowledged as the Premiership’s most successful overseas player - who shared his memories of being a Springbok, experience of rugby in England while playing for Saracens and his aspirations for the future as he looks to transfer to life as an accountant at the end of this season. All guests shared great insights into the life of a professional rugby player and there was a resounding vote of approval from everyone who shared the fun of a Friday afternoon in their company. The proceeds from the event are yet to be confirmed however there is no doubt that leaking roofs and cold showers are likely to be a thing of the past for Heath this season!