RAF host Girls' Festival of Rugby

  |  Published: Mar 22nd 2017

The rain did not discourage over 300 rugby-mad girls converging at RAF Halton on Sunday for the first RAF Girls Festival of Rugby Community Outreach Project supported by SecureCloud+. Local U13s, U15s and U18s teams from Reading & Newbury, Old Northamptonians, Old Albanians, Grove, Peterborough and Basingstoke arrived, mid-downpour, at RAF Halton to mark the start of what would be a unique day of rugby.

Midway through the pool matches, and to the girl’s amazement, the roar of a helicopter overhead alerted the girls that something special was about to happen. A Puma II helicopter from RAF Benson with two England Internationals, Claire Allan (36 caps) and Meg Jones (2 caps) landed pitch side to much excitement and applause. The crowd, which included Air Marshal Phil Osborn the RAFRU President, Air Vice Marshal Andy Turner, Air Vice Marshal Christina Elliot, Group Captain James Brayshaw (RAF Halton Station Commander) and Group Captain Al Lewis the RAFRU Honorary Secretary, spent time chatting and posing for photographs with the players and the two England Internationals before the matches concluded.

The smile on the faces of all the girls, coaches and helpers was testament to the unbridled success of the event, proving that a career in the Royal Air Force is “No Ordinary Job”. This included the amazing Air Cadets who helped in the organisation of the day and were rewarded with a trip in the Puma II helicopter. Plans are already underway for the RAF Girls Festival of Rugby in the RAF 100 Centenary April 2018.

The CEO of SecureCloud+, Peter Williamson, said: “The whole day has been fantastic, it has surpassed everyone’s wildest expectations and illustrates the countless opportunities that young women have in achieving a work sport balance in the Royal Air Force. On behalf of SecureCloud+ we would like to thank everyone in the Royal Air Force for making this such a memorable day for the all the girls that took part in the event”.

Air Marshal Phil Osborn, RAFRU President, said: “I am delighted the day has been such a success, it is always fantastic to see so many young players enjoying our marvellous sport. In particular, such events underline the Royal Air Force Rugby Union’s desire to support grassroots rugby and encourage maximum participation in a game underpinned by teamwork, respect, sportsmanship and fun!”

Flying Officer Rob Bell, who helped organise the event, said: “The event was primarily set up to raise the profile and promote RAF career opportunities to an audience of 300 under 18 female rugby players. It showed potential recruits the life and work of the RAF through RAF Recruitment stands, Air Cadet Engagement and high profile RAF Female Sports personalities.  All in all it was an extremely successful event with the participants being fit and motivated playing a high standard of Rugby Union.”

the crowd
the Puma through the uprights
coming in to land
play under way
Claire Allen and Meg Jones arrive
CEO of SecureCloud+ Peter Williamson, Station Commander Group Captain James Brayshaw, Meg Jones, Air Vice Marshal Andy Turner, Claire Allen, Air Marshal Phil Osborn
CEO of SecureCloud+ Peter Williamson, Station Commander Group Captain James Brayshaw, Meg Jones, Air Vice Marshal Andy Turner, Claire Allen, Air Marshal Phil Osborn
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