We marked the start of our anniversary in early August with a Family Festival of Rugby at the Recreation Ground; nearly 3,000 people attended and joined in with tag rugby sessions, kicking clinics, changing room tours and Q&As with our coaches and players. We have also held three fantastic events at Farleigh House – including the introduction of the inaugural Bath Rugby Hall of Fame which honoured important players and coaches from the Club’s past.
During the season we will be launching an additional award to recognise the significant contribution to the Club made by people ‘off the pitch’. Further details will be released in due course. Thank you to all our supporters who joined us and helped make these events a huge success.
The festivities will continue throughout the year. We will host more Season Ticket Holder events than ever before to keep you updated about the Club, including the opportunity to enjoy a Q&A with Club management and players at Farleigh House in the Spring. We will also be running some 150th anniversary giveaways, giving Season Ticket Holders the chance to win a prize every home match weekend, from crates of Bath Ale’s Gem to a luxury weekend in Bath.
On matchdays, we will be honouring the Club’s players, past and present, with each home game being dedicated to the individual positions on the pitch. From loosehead to fullback, all will be celebrated in a variety of ways, including Q&As in the Swift Half with legends of the Club. We are also in the final stages of planning a Rugby Ball Hunt around the city centre in Easter 2016, which will provide some fun for children and grown-ups alike.
This momentous year not only provides an opportunity to showcase the Club’s history, but also to ensure that today’s memories are captured and an archive is retained for future generations. We will be inviting you to share your favourite memories of the Club, as well as telling us your best moments of the year as the season unfolds. The Club will be holding a public exhibition of memorabilia at a venue in Bath city centre in the spring of 2016, which will celebrate our past, present and future. Our 150th anniversary season will culminate in a special celebration event at the Rec in May 2016. More details on all these events will be published on bathrugby.com, so keep an eye on the website.
Both the Bath Rugby Foundation and our Community team will play a significant role in our 150th year. Together they currently deliver £500,000 of programmes in B&NES and surrounding areas, including programmes aimed at character building, healthy eating, and helping young people get back into training or employment. The Bath Rugby Foundation is launching the 150Fund, which will raise at least £150,000 of additional funding over the course of the season, to further benefit the local community.
They are also aiming to secure 150 runners for the 2016 Bath Half Marathon and are delighted to have been selected as the Family Fun Run Charity for the event. Our Community team will be working closely with local amateur clubs to train one new rugby coach per club, as well as continuing their excellent work in local schools. They play a vital role in this Club’s legacy and ensure that we keep building for the next generation and for the next 150 years.
On the field, our outstanding players continue to develop into a squad that will challenge for top honours domestically and in Europe. We enjoyed many successes last season and some games that will live long in the memory. We will continue to build on those positives in 2015/16 and are delighted to have confirmed contract extensions with our coaching staff earlier this month. Continuity in this area is key to the ongoing development of the squad and style of rugby we are building for sustained success.
On behalf of the whole Club, I would like to reiterate our thanks for your support, and look forward to you joining us for what promises to be a unique year in this great Club’s history, starting today as we take on our old rivals Gloucester at the Rec.
Tarquin McDonald | Managing Director
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