It’s been an interesting month for me as Development Manager, and it started on with the annual P.E Conference. Normally held at Eden Project, this year it was a little closer to home at the University of Exeter on the Penryn campus. As a former student it was a nice excuse to go and explore how things had changed since my time there.
As always I arrive early to get set up, and catch up with some of the other people who are there, in particular it was good to catch up with Sam from the Cornish Pirates who we hope to one day be sharing a stadium with, and with Chris Caws from Youth Sport Trust who has just returned from a year in New Zealand. He’s watched and played a lot of Rugby League in his time so he is always keen to see how we are getting on.
First into the brand new lecture theatre at the campus we were welcomed by Ruth Grimmer from the University, followed by Richard Higginson who is in charge of a steering group for school sport in Cornwall, before Chris Caws (on his second day back in role) gave a National update from Youth Sport Trust.
The keynote speaker was introduced as Talan from Mylor. Talan Skeels-Piggins was a P.E teacher living in Bath when he was involved in a motorcycle crash and paralysed from the chest down. I could never do the truly amazing story he tells justice, but he overcame adversity and negativity not once, but several times on his journey to achieve the seemingly impossible. Skiing, Motorcycle racing and sailing to name a few of the things Talan has worked incredibly hard to be able to participate (and in some cases dominate) in. He was funny, VERY funny and equally as inspirational. Check him out on Twitter and say hello if you get a chance. Incredible man.
Later in the day I was joined by Steve Guan from the Rugby Football League who had driven down from Sussex to meet up and chat about how things are going for us in Cornwall. It was the first time I had properly met Steve but it won’t be the last. He looks after education in the South of England and so we had a good catch up, and bounced some ideas around to move forward with.
Later that afternoon we ran a workshop of our own. Primary Rugby League is a new concept to many teachers in Cornwall so we run small CPD workshops to get them acquainted with the sport and hand out free resources to use with the pupils. It’s a really simple form of Rugby which the kids love playing. In true Cornish style, the minute we set foot outside for the practical, the rain came! The session went well and the teachers got a lot from it. Positivity all round.
That week ended on another positive note, with an e-mail from the RFL saying I had been nominated and shortlisted at the RFL Community Awards 2017. It means a great deal, and everyone has been saying nice things about it. This weekend I head to the awards ceremony which is held before the Super League Grand Final, with my long-suffering wife Kerry, at Old Trafford. It’s a great excuse to get away for the weekend and catch up with some Manchester-friends at the same time. We are really looking forward to the day.
It’s a cliché to say “I’m thrilled just to be nominated”, but I really am. John actually won this very award back in 2014 so it’s a real coup for the club to be shortlisted twice in such a short space of time. This sport is run by extraordinary volunteers up and down the country and to be shortlisted for something like this is beyond flattering. With that said, our work is by no means done so it’s no time to rest on my laurels!
Last of all, but equally as important in the latter part of the month we ran another Primary Rugby League CPD, this time in Wadebridge for 8 teachers who wanted to know more about the game of Rugby League. Everyone enjoyed it and it was great to see people who had played RL for the first time last year come back wanting to find out more.
That’s it from me for September. John will be writing soon I’m sure, as he’s had an exciting time of late too!
Until the next time….
Club Secretary & Development Manager
EDIT: October 7th 2017 – 22:35
Rob won the award for Volunteer of the Year and has writted the following words which couldn’t really wait until the next blog post!
“I’ve just got back from the Super League Grand Final and in the Community Awards ceremony this afternoon I was privileged to be named Volunteer of the Year 2017.
As I accepted the award I got to say some thank yous and speak a little about what we are doing in Cornwall to grow the game, which went down very well with the 150+ who attended the ceremony. Not everyone could be there so I want to recognise them now publicly.
The biggest thank yous go firstly to the Rebels themselves. From the lads who play game after game to those who dip in for a game here and there, its seeing you enjoy Rugby League that makes me want to build it so that more will come and enjoy it with us. You too are volunteers, and every club is nothing without its players. To every single Rebel, past and present … Thank you for being open minded and giving it a go.
Also an enormous thank you to our Chairman John who is a real partner in crime for me; we have been through so many ups and downs together and he is the first place I go with my wacky ideas. He keeps the whole club on an even keel and helps me turn those ideas which we have into reality. Everything we achieve, we achieve together for our club. Thanks mate.
I also thanked Steve Leonard and Craig Richards at St Helens who have helped me become what our County needed to take these steps forward and who I’m sure will help us take the next ones also.
To some of the guys at the RFL; Marc Lovering, Ant Atherton, Dave Raybould, Laura Fairbank, Russell Murphy and Steve Guan I also say thank you. Its the experiences we have shared which have made me better and more effective at what I do, and that’s priceless, really. They do a tricky job with limited resources, so credit is often lacking. Not today. Truly, thank you.
There’s some other thank you’s which need to be made in person but let me just say that no man or woman ever achieved anything entirely on their own. If you have ever been on the end of a phone for me, answered my questions or simply just told me how much you enjoyed the experience of Rugby League in Cornwall; Thank you.
I’m proud of what we have achieved as a club, but I am even prouder of where we are planning to go. My efforts are just a small part of the story. This award is a lovely way of telling me we are on the right tracks.
Today I’ve had a banging day out with the one who deserves the biggest thank you of all; Mrs B. Behind every successful person there is a partner who is making sacrifices, and she is as much a part of this achievement as I am.
That’s all for now folks, until next time…