Northampton Saints flanker Jamie Gibson has today been named the winner of the first RPA Personal Development Award of the 2018/19 season. The award was created to celebrate the proactivity and off-field achievements of RPA members.
The powerful forward who has made more than 100 appearances for the East Midlands club since moving from Leicester Tigers in 2015/16, has been rewarded for his success off the pitch, launching an online cooking blog and co-founding two separate businesses with his wife, Lizzie.
Jamie, a passionate cook, has made the most of his love for food by launching his very own cooking blog, Butter Wouldn’t Melt. The blog provides readers with a range of indoor and outdoor recipes, using easily accessible ingredients, and providing a unique insight into Jamie’s passion for all things food. The website also features an online shop, where Jamie has proactively approached local retailers and suppliers to advertise their products on the site.
The 28-year-old has also worked hard to establish a successful business with his wife, called Pannacotta. The online shop sells handcrafted baby items, such as wooden toys and hand embroidered blankets. Jamie has harnessed his strong interest in photography to capture all images found on the site, leading to numerous local businesses approaching him to take similar shots for their use.
Jamie has continued his commitment to developing off the pitch and enhancing his interests by co-founding a second business with his wife, a bespoke design, branding, photography and fine art company, called Elza James. Still in the early stages of operation, Jamie and Lizzie make the most of their spare time to work with their clients to establish and promote a brand identity, by crafting unique design and imagery that reflects the desired culture and ethos.
Upon winning the award, Jamie said: “It’s great to win this award. Any kind of recognition is massively appreciated, particularly when you consider what the other players in the game are achieving outside of rugby. It inspires me to keep pushing. The businesses grew out of what we were doing at home, cooking for ourselves or making little things for our children. Balancing the businesses with rugby has really worked because you get home from training and you want to be active and not just sit on the sofa. It also means I’m spending time with my wife and our sons, which is where all the inspiration comes from. These are definitely the things I want to keep growing post-rugby.”
Lynsey Hyslop, RPA Senior Personal Development Manager for Northampton Saints, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Jamie and see him develop so significantly off the pitch. He has worked incredibly hard to put plans in place for his future and it’s been outstanding to witness him incorporate his passions for cooking and family into his business ventures, working collectively with his wife to make the most of every opportunity. Jamie is an astute, proactive and hugely motivated person and winning this award goes a small way in acknowledging his dedication to succeed and support his family.”
This is the first of three Personal Development Awards to be made in the 2018/19 season, with further winners to be announced in February and April. The award highlights a player’s off-field personal development success and is judged by a panel consisting of RPA Rugby Director, Richard Bryan, RPA Non-Executive Director, Joe Ryan, and RPA Alumni Representatives, Chris Bentley and Rob Vickerman.
The RPA Personal Development Programme (jointly funded by the RPA, RFU and Premiership Rugby) is a central pillar of the RPA and provides its members with essential off-field education, personal development, career transition opportunities and welfare support.