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50 days until Festival of Rugby

PUBLISHED: 18:30 21 April 2015

The Festival of Rugby is coming soon.

The Festival of Rugby is coming soon.

Leo Wilkinson Photography

Various events occuring all over England to celebrate ‘rugby’s biggest year’

The Festival of Rugby is coming soon.The Festival of Rugby is coming soon.

With 50 days to go until Festival of Rugby 2015 events kick off across the UK, there’s still time to get involved in rugby’s biggest year.

Any event that has a link to the game or a rugby theme can become part of the Festival of Rugby 2015. Developed in partnership between England Rugby 2015 and the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the Festival will be hosted across the UK between June 10 and October 31, 2015.

Event organisers and participants can apply and register interest via www.festivalofrugby2015.com.

Interest is already strong with over 100 wide-ranging events set to be a part of Festival of Rugby including; The Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Community Festival at the iconic Copperbox Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Rugby’s Got Balls in Rugby and Hartlepool Rovers RFC’S Family Fun Day.

Taking place on October 11, the day before eight of the world’s best wheelchair rugby nations compete in the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge 2015, the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Community Festival is a legacy event celebrating Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby’s inclusive community programme.

Open to everyone, the festival programme is packed with special cultural activities created in partnership with local people and volunteers. Everyone will have the opportunity to try the sport, watch live games, meet Paralympic players and cheer on teams for the first ever Wheelchair Rugby Youth Tournament.

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby CEO, David Pond, said: “The Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Community Day, as part of the Festival of Rugby, is a great chance for us to showcase the sport and give people the opportunity to see how exciting the game is.

“We enjoy being part of the wider rugby family and we want to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to come to the Copper Box Arena, watch the game, or better still get in a chair and have fun!

“So whether you are new to wheelchair rugby or long-time fans, get along to the Copper Box Arena where I guarantee you will have an amazing time!”

Rugby’s Got Balls is another event showcasing the diversity of Festival of Rugby 2015 events registered to date. Supported by Rugby Borough Council and sponsors, the project celebrates the birthplace of the game. Kicking off on June 26, the event aims to develop, promote and deliver high quality public art in a fun and innovative way through the creation of a number of large-scale rugby sculptures.

Each sculpture is decorated by local community groups and artists and located in prime positions around the town, starting in June through to the end of October. Post event, the sculptures will be auctioned for charity.

Rugby clubs up and down the country are also registering their involvement in the Festival of Rugby 2015, including Hartlepool Rovers RFC who are hosting an action packed Family Fun Day on July 4. With rugby matches, dance troops, cheerleaders, pony rides, face painting and karaoke on offer there’s plenty to keep families entertained. What’s more, they can put their baking to the test by entering the cake bake off, with a chance of winning a great prize.

With over 3,000 expressions of interest since the January launch, the Festival of Rugby 2015 programme will bring fans and wider communities together to celebrate rugby through events hosted across the UK.

Steve Brown, Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, said, “With 50 days to go until the Festival of Rugby 2015 starts, we are delighted to see over 100 events already signed up and thousands searching for ways to be involved.

“The programme aims to give fans, communities across the country, and those new to rugby the chance to be part of rugby’s biggest year but allows them to celebrate the game in their own way and through a real range of events.

“We encourage people to register their events early and use www.festivalofrugby2015.com to help them plan their particular Festival experience.”

RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger said: “The levels of interest in Festival of Rugby 2015 have been great, the variety and geographical spread of the events submissions we’ve received really reflects the inclusiveness of our sport.

“Whether it’s a rugby tournament, a music festival, an art exhibition or a bake sale, we want to encourage more people to join in the celebrations by hosting rugby-themed events in the community.

“This is a great opportunity for the rugby family to not only showcase rugby union’s values but also to reach out to more communities and welcome many more potential players, spectators and followers to our great game.

“This will be a very special year for rugby clubs nationwide and through the Festival we want to give them the support to bring the festivities to their local area.”

Event seekers can use the postcode facility on www.festivalofrugby2015.com to find events near them, while those looking to create their own events will have access to the Festival of Rugby 2015 brand and online event toolkit.

The toolkit, enables event organisers to create their own t-shirts, bunting, posters, leaflets and stickers and their events will also be profiled and promoted through the website.

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