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Trent College kicked off Rugby World Cup year in style as international stars Phil de Glanville, Sophie Hemming and George Chuter joined renowned broadcaster John Inverdale for the 'World In Union’ annual sporting dinner on Thursday (29 January).
Former England captain de Glanville, 2014 Women’s World Cup winner Hemmings, Leicester Tigers legend and 2007 World Cup finalist Chuter provided fascinating anecdotes and insights from their successful yet varied careers as England prepares to host the Rugby World Cup carnival in September.
The trio were also on hand to pass on tips and advice to Trent College’s own up and coming rugby stars, some of whom tasted Twickenham glory themselves in the U18 Natwest Vase last March, in a post-dinner Q&A with BBC Sport’s Inverdale.
Chuter said: “The fact we have the third biggest global sporting event on our doorstep should fill all sports fans with excitement and anticipation. It also offers the game of rugby the opportunity to really expand its exposure and numbers of participants in this country, and propel the game forward.”
Inverdale added: “Nights like this showcase rugby to people at all levels, and hopefully inspire a large percentage of those who came along to play the game and remain in the game for a large chunk of their lives.”
Trent College’s annual sporting dinner is always one of the most popular dates on the school’s calendar with recent events welcoming stars from across the worlds of sport including England and Nottinghamshire cricketer Stuart Broad, Olympic swimming sensation Rebecca Adlington, London 2012 rowing heroine Katherine Grainger and England and British Lions centre Manu Tuilagi.
All proceeds from this year’s dinner are going to an organisation very close to Trent College’s heart, the Kenyan Schools Partnership, established in 2012 to provide support and fundraising for schools in Kenya.
Trent has a long-standing charitable link with Nyacaba Primary School in Kenya, with staff and pupils visiting regularly and identifying essential projects, including buying books, buildings, furniture, doors, roofing, flooring and installing a water tank. These projects made such a big difference to the school Trent decided to support another school, Gowan Mount View Academy, leading to the launch of the Partnership.
This year the school is also working with Bhubesi Pride, a rugby charity that stages annual Trans-African rugby coaching and development expeditions, to provide coaching, kit and experiences for the staff and pupils at the Partnership schools.
Magnus Cowie, Deputy Head Pastoral at Trent College, said: “At present many of the pupils have nothing to eat or drink from the time they leave home to walk to school through to when they return home at the end of a long day. The two schools are hugely appreciative of the support we provide them with.”
A raffle and other on-the-night competitions helped raise almost £5,500 towards the fundraising with Barker and Stonehouse once again donating the on-stage furniture, which formed the centrepiece of the raffle, and Thorntons providing hampers as raffle prizes plus the chocolates as part of the after dinner coffee.
James Barker, Barker and Stonehouse Managing Director said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to offer a helping hand to the Kenyan Schools Partnership. We have a strong sense of community spirit and are proud to support this extremely worthy cause.”
Meanwhile Stratstone Land Rover (Nottingham) supported the fundraising by filling the boot of a Land Rover Discovery with rugby balls with one lucky guest winning a trip to the factory in Solihull and an off-road driving experience for four people after correctly guessing there were 101 balls in the boot.