In England’s southwesternmost county, there is a group of rugby enthusiasts enjoying the sport in its true spirit and making money for charity at the same time.
The Bolingey Barbarians – named after The Bolingey Inn where the idea was born ten years ago over a couple of ales – put on fixtures once a month with the aim of raising money for childrens charities in a number of innovative ways.
The rugby emphasis is on hard but strictly fair play – with players having been asked to leave the field for over-zealous use of limb extremities – whilst the non-rugby emphasis is on socialising with other local teams and on fundraising.
There is a travelling raconteur named Andy Stephens who can be relied on to initiate the singing or story-telling if it goes a little flat, whilst monies are raised through match fees, raffles, mock auctions and fines. Almost everything won in the raffle gets auctioned immediately, and any bottles won or bid on are opened ‘in house’ and glasses duly sold for a pound (or a pound to pass up the offer!).
National One side, the Cornish Pirates, support very well when they allow a number of players to a home match or two so we can rattle the collecting buckets. From this season the half-time youth game will always feature a selected team wearing the strip and playing as the ‘Bolingey Youth’ to raise the profile of this most worthy organisation even further.
At the end of season, the Barbarians organise the County Veterans Tournament which is played at one of several clubs that support the Bolingey venture. There is the mandatory annual black tie rugby dinner and every two years there is a tour, usually to Brittany – last year 53 players and supporters crossed the channel partaking to partake in yet more fundraising activities.
Ty James was good enough to tell us about this, and would obviously encourage wider support – fixtures are posted in Perranporth RFC (where the monthly fixtures take place) or you can ring the clubhouse there for more information, so as Ty says, “Come on down one Sunday have a look at some reasonable rugby and join in some excellent partying!”