Our picture above shows back row L-R: Norman Gill, Paul Dodge and Danny Loughran. Middle Row: Harry Hollis, Callum Holtom, Xavier Henderson, George Caldwell, Jack Green and in front Ben Hollis.
On Tuesday 9th July Paul Dodge received a cheque from Norman Gill on our behalf of Syston Rugby Football Club.
Paul is an Ex-Syston Colt who joined Tigers in 1975, and played until 1991, making 436 appearances. He also played for England and the British and Irish Lions, gaining 32 caps between 1978 and 1985. The Leicester Tigers and England Player returned to Syston Rugby Football Club to receive a cheque on behalf of the Club from the Norman Gill Charitable Trust (C.T.) to help the club improve their facilities.
Club President Danny Loughran explained the project is to upgrade facilities both internal and external by building a new secure changing and shower block, and to improve the drainage on the training and mini/junior playing area.
Phase 1 of the upgrade is to improve the referees changing rooms to accommodate female referees, for which we were graciously awarded £5,000 by the residents of Charnwood at the last community forum. This has enabled us to begin the work, which we will complete in August ready for the new season. We need this extra accommodation because as we are now playing in a national division, the use of lady referees will become more common.
Phase 2 – The existing players toilets are to be upgraded and extended to twice the current size.
Phase 3 is the construction of two new changing rooms and shower facilities to accommodate, among others, the mini/junior section and ladies. We are scheduled to begin this immediately at the end of the coming season, providing of course we can raise the funds, and we are hopeful that by approaching charitable trusts such as Norman Gill, and by the generosity of our own members and our more than generous corporate sponsors, we can complete the development and upgrade by August 2014.
Our mini/junior section currently has around 350 U6 to U17 children and is massively successful and ever expanding. We need to provide a secure and safe environment for children to change and this block which will be adjoining the existing clubhouse, will be secure but will allow one person to supervise.
In addition to Rugby; Cricket, Tennis, Archery, Martial Arts, Dance, Zumba and Mark Headley Soccer Coaching are all accommodated at the club. We have been named a sports hub. In fact our facilities have been used for training by New Zealand all blacks, South Africa, Italy, England B and England ladies and we regularly provide playing and training facilities for county sides both junior and senior. We believe Syston RFC is the only club in Charnwood with the ground and clubhouse facilities able to provide this continued service
and we must expand to keep abreast of the demand.
We also support charities .. Macmillan, Motor Neurone, Friends of Chernobyl, Marie Curie, H4H (£1300) Air Ambulance and Queniborough Pre-School.
Other Syston RFC youth players who have gone on to play at a higher level playing for Tigers and England are Matt Poole, Chris Tressler, Dave Forfar and of course Steve Kenny and The Deacon Brothers are associated with Syston.
We need to raise in excess of £60,000, and the kind donation by the Norman Gill C. T. and the monies from the Charnwood Forum means that we are about a third of the way there. We still have a long way to go, but we have many fund raising events… Tigers ball 28th September, plus buy a named brick at £100 ideal birthday or Christmas presents.
Without doubt our biggest contribution to the fund so far £10,000 will be from Norman Gill. The Norman Gill C.T. does massive work in assisting many Organisations in the area and in particular those dealing with the development of young or under privileged children and has provided funding for Glen Parva young offenders institute, the old phoenix theatre, the LOROS building fund and Organisations such as Scouts, Girl Guides, Sea Cadets, Youth Clubs And Boxing Clubs. Many of these institutions would find it difficult to survive without the input of the many charitable trusts such as the Norman Gill C.T.
The event was attended by many Club members and supporters including two local councillors Tom Barkley and Stephen Hampson.