With just 50 days until Restart Rugby Weekend, 15th-17th April 2016, we spoke exclusively to England centre and Restart Rugby Ambassador, Rachael Burford, to find out why she is such a passionate supporter of the charity and the event.
Rachael why do you believe Restart Rugby Weekend is so important?
It’s hugely significant on so many levels. Firstly it’s a nationwide campaign, involving all Premiership clubs across the country, and therefore it’s a great opportunity for all rugby fans to show their support. The weekend plays such an essential role in raising awareness around Restart Rugby and what the charity does and who it supports. Everyone can buy their own Restart Rugby T-shirt, wear red and white throughout the round and use social media to share their images and promote the charity’s fantastic work.
Building on the success of the first Restart Rugby Weekend in 2015, can you see this year’s event being even better?
Of course! I think everything you start from scratch always has the potential to build over time and with the success of the countdown campaign so far, the weekend is shaping to be a huge success. The 2015 event really set the tone heading into this year, more people are now aware of what the charity does, who it supports and how players can access help if needed.
How would you encourage your fellow players and rugby fans to get behind the weekend?
There’s so many opportunities to show your support for the weekend. Whether you join the social media countdown, buy your official T-shirt, book tickets to a Premiership Rugby match in Round 20, donate to our Just Giving site or make a one off donation, there’s so many avenues to get involved. As for my fellow players, the charity is something that can help us all in times of need, so please get behind the weekend and help promote the event. Anything, big or little, will make a huge difference.
The £25,000 fundraising target, do you believe that can be reached?
Without a doubt, if you think how large the rugby community is in the UK, I strongly believe we can smash that target out of the park. In particular having the opportunity to promote the weekend through social media means we have such a powerful tool to reach out to the wider public and encourage them to join the campaign.
Finally you were appointed a Restart Rugby Ambassador in December last year, can you explain why the charity is so close to your heart?
I have a really strong personal engagement to the charity as my Dad suffered a serious neck injury in 1993 which left him having to prematurely retire from rugby and also meant he could no longer work. It was a devastating blow and I only wish such a charity as Restart Rugby existed at the time to help him get back on his feet.
Restart Rugby Weekend is set to take place on 15th & 17th April, Round 20 of Aviva Premiership Rugby, and is dedicated to the players’ charity, helping players who have suffered serious injury, illness or hardship.
Join the Restart Rugby Weekend by following us on Twitter @RestartRugby and engage with us by using the official hashtag #RestartRugbyWeekend