Syston Rugby Football Club celebrated the opening of their latest development on the weekend of 18/19th October in their 127th year. A Vice President lunch was held on Saturday attended by many of the contractors and suppliers who had generously contributed to the project along with club members and their guests. On Sunday a less formal buffet lunch was attended by many mini and junior members, their parents and dignitaries from County, Borough and Syston Town Councils.
The opening ceremony on Saturday was carried out by past Presidents Roger Wright and Graham Stonehouse, both of whom played for the club in the 1960’s, see picture left. On Sunday, the ceremony was conducted by Mr. Norman Gill, a valued patron of the club, and England International Louis Deacon, a current member of the Leicester Tigers squad who played for Syston’s mini / junior section, see picture above.
In the days before professional rugby, Syston RFC was a regular feeder club for Leicester Tigers and this has continued into the modern era. Over the past 40 years Syston RFC has produces many players who have gone on to play for the Tigers and gain International honours with England, the Barbarians and against touring sides from the Southern Hemisphere. Indeed one famous Tiger, who originated from Syston, became England captain and played for the British and Irish Lions
Following a policy of expansion, the club moved to its present location at Barkby Road Queniborough in January 1989 and now regularly fields a number of senior sides comprising of first, second, third and development fifteens, and Colts. In addition the club boasts a thriving mini / junior section comprising sides from under seven years to 17 years of age – a total of over 300 children.
It was in response to the ever expanding junior section at the club that the latest development of changing rooms, showers, toilets and a new first aid room was initiated. It was felt that a totally secure environment for children and ladies to change and shower was paramount. To this effect, the new facility is attached to, but secure from the existing six changing rooms and social area. The development also includes what the club believes to be the regions first dedicated changing and showering facilities at a grass roots rugby club for female referees / coaches.
Syston RFC owes a great deal to the generosity of Norman Gill and the Trustees of the Norman Gill Charitable Trust, Leicestershire County Council, Charnwood Borough Council and the County and Borough Councillors, without whose help and support the project would not have been successful.
In addition to the generous donations made by The Norman Gill Charitable Trust and the County and Borough Councils, the members of Syston RFC made a significant contribution to the project by buying a ‘named brick’ and by attending ‘The Grand 125 Ball’, a celebration of the Clubs 125th Anniversary. The Ball, held at Leicester Tigers, was organised by Isabel and Rob Ashford and Ian Caldwell of the mini / junior section, and was hosted by Ex-Tiger and Ex-Syston player Matt Poole. The evening proved to be a resounding success raising important revenue for the project and a donation for the Matt Hampson Foundation.
Without the help and input of so many supporters, who provided important funding or materials and services at greatly reduced cost, and in many cases free of charge, there is little doubt that the building of these facilities would not have been possible. The Executive Committee express their thanks to the many club members and sponsors who gave time and materials to complete the project on time and on budget.
At the opening ceremonies, the club President Mr. Tony Edgeley sincerely thanked his predecessor Danny Loughran, the Fund Raising and Executive Committees, also, the Syston RFC members and supporters and all those individuals and municipal and corporate organisations for their generous contributions towards the £65,000 donated to the project over the past 18 months. He commented that without their generosity and dedication the project would not have been a success.
Syston RFC is always keen to welcome new players of all ages, supporters and sponsors to the Club. Senior training is held on Monday and Thursday evenings and Mini / Junior training and games are held on Sunday mornings.