A New Vision is Coming | 100 years in the making
Last Saturday (20th November), the club hosted it’s first Sporting Lunch of the season to raise funds for our Vision 24 campaign.
The lunch got underway with a welcome by Chairman, Merv Richards who also awarded 1st XV sponsors, The Worx with a playing shirt as a thank you for their support. Merv then handed over to Sara Palmer from the Vision 24 committee to introduce the campaign to the lunch guests.
Before the sausage & mash was served, there was time for a quick yes/no game for a chance to win a signed Exeter Chiefs ball.
Following a two-course lunch, with the wine (and beer) flowing, proceedings moved on to a great chat with our guest speakers, Exeter Chiefs legends Kai Horstmann & Carl Rimmer who gave us a great insight into life with the Chiefs and also some great advice on success and how to achieve it. Afterwards, the pair hosted a Q&A session to answer burning questions from around the room.
Onto the auction, which was kindly hosted by Scott Gray of 24/7 Property Auctions where there were some top quality lots on offer, including signed rugby shirts, 4-ball golf vouchers, vouchers for local restaurants and many items in between.
The afternoon was topped off with a spectacular game of rugby on the field, with the Withies pulling off the performance of the season so far with a 36-0 win over fourth-placed Torquay Athletic.
Overall, a spectacularly enjoyable afternoon, which was incredibly successful in it’s mission to raise money to improve the facilities for all that use the club.
With your incredible generosity, we raised just over £8,000 in the auction and look to have raised over £10,000 in total for Vision 24. THANK YOU!!
It has to be said though, that these events cannot take place without the amazing people that spared their time to volunteer and make the event run smoothly. To the organising committee that put the plans into place and to the Chefs and members of the Withy Walking Rugby side who put together our amazing meal; to the members of our Withy Juniors who donned their shirts and ties to act as our waiters for the afternoon. Huge thanks to Scott Gray for auctioning off the lots and to Kai and Carl for coming along and entertaining us for the afternoon.
Finally, a huge thank you to everyone that came along and supported the event. Your contributions and support means so much to us and we cannot wait to be able to show you the finished article as we enter our centenary year in 2024!
The club’s Vision 24 campaign got underway in style last weekend with a rather epic challenge. Withies on Wheels saw a group of adventurous cyclists take to their bikes and cycle around Devon… in less than 24 hours!
The ambitious challenge was the idea of ex-Withy fullback and keen cyclist Martin Gill, who recruited a team of six fellow (and brave!) riders for the 426km (264mi) journey across the arduous, undulating roads of the county. The team was made up of Martin Gill, Bill Burton, Rob Clarke, Andrew Cotton, Rob Dustan, Brian Glover & Paul McCarthy. However. they didn’t have to go it alone as they were accompanied by additional members of the club for the opening and finishing sections; with James Bamsey, Justyn Coates, Ian Crook, Paddy Fairbanks, Amy Gillard, Mike Richards & Gerry Trump completing the line-up.
The journey got underway just before 4pm on Friday (23rd July) under the starting orders of East Devon MP, Simon Jupp, who gave the adventurous few some words of encouragement before setting off to the supporting sounds of applause from friends, family and club members.
The early stages of the route saw them travel along the Exe Estuary Trail to Exeter, and then Dawlish where they said goodbye to their support riders before heading down to South Devon where they paid a visit to Paignton RFC and then made their way to Dartmouth where a short ferry crossing gave quick relief from the saddle. With just over 3hrs complete, the group continued north-west as they travelled across to Plymouth and then up to Kingsbridge. With the night setting in, the demanding nature of the route began to show as Dartmoor’s unforgiving terrain began to test the team. If this wasn’t enough, the forecasted poor weather began to roll in with a thunderstorm thrown in to add to the experience. The torrential rain continued for four hours as the courageous seven battled through the night across the hills of North Devon.
By 6am, the rain has finally stopped as they arrived in Coombe Martin before starting the journey home. The next stop on the route was Tiverton; where, waiting for the team were bacon rolls, coffee and more supporting cyclists to help them home. The last leg of the journey saw the peloton of fourteen make their way back down to East Devon with the scenic route through sunny Otterton and East Budleigh waiting for them before taking the cycle path back to Exmouth and arriving back into Raleigh Park to a huge crowd and a tunnel of cheers and applause a little after 3:30pm. Just in time for a pint and a rest before the Lions match!
Distance: 426km (264mi)
Total Elevation: 6,500m
On bike time: 20hrs
Elapsed time: 23hrs 30min
Ferry journeys: 1
Torrential rain: 4hrs
Hazards: Deer, rabbits & frogs avoided on the night section!!
Speaking after the challenge, Withies Director of Rugby, Rick Libbey said: “Make no mistake this was an awesome challenge for the fittest of riders. Now consider that most of the cyclists who completed the whole route were in their 60s. We stand in genuine awe and admiration”. This was a feeling carried through by all the supporters and everyone at the club.
A huge thank you to each of the fourteen riders that took on the gruelling challenge, but especially to the seven ‘core’ riders for taking on the challenge to help support the club in our aim to improve facilities at Raleigh Park ahead of our centenary in 2024.
Another huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored the riders and donated to the challenge as, to date, we’ve raised an incredible £3,135!
Withycombe Rugby Club (WRFC) is delighted to be opening the gates again this Saturday (17th April), inviting members old and new to their freshly refurbished outdoor hospitality and beer garden.
A new look
Over the past 12 months, the doors have mostly been shut but the work has continued at WRFC. The club has been blessed with volunteers and members dedicating their time and effort to give the club a fresh new look - including a refurbished bar, loos, club house and outdoor space ready to host COVID-safe events.
Diversity at the club
Started in 1924 as a traditional community based sports club with one men’s team, Raleigh Park is now proudly home to 13 successful teams of all ages, genders and abilities, and is continuing to diversify with plans for regular walking rugby and mixed-gender touch rugby events. The clubhouse also serves the community by hosting events from playgroups to Zumba, and everything in between.
Plans for the future - Vision 2024
On the pitch, the club’s recent growth has meant that the community needs for the space have outgrown the available facilities at Raleigh Park. Plans are afoot to double our changing facilities so that we can mark our centenary year with a statement of our intent to keep growing and supporting rugby in our community.
Planning permission has already been received for the works and the club has a dedicated fundraising team in place to deal with raising the necessary finance. Community events, grant funding and member contributions are all part of the fundraising plan.
The fundraising project has so far been approved by local MP, Simon Jupp, who has endorsed the new plans: “I was absolutely delighted to visit Withycombe RFC. The club has a fantastic spirit and provides a great focus for rugby in the community. The club’s plans to extend their facilities to provide yet more services to the people of Exmouth is something I fully support. I wish them well in their fundraising efforts and look forward
to helping out.”
If you are an individual or business owner who would like to support the ongoing community impact of our club, your contribution would be most welcome. In the meantime, come and see our new bar and beer garden for yourself! New members are always welcome.
It’s been a tough year. We’re looking forward to seeing you.
Due to Lockdown 2.0 our planned launch event has been postponed until late December or early January.
However, we have been able to meet up with our Team Coaches from each of our 13 teams to give them the exciting news!
They will be letting you know the early plans and initial details when they see you, but keep your eyes peeled for the main launch event coming your way in the near future...
- Full details of the plans can be found in HERE.
- Details on how you can help support us can be found HERE.