Published: 11:00, 15 May 2020
| Updated: 11:56, 15 May 2020
Thanet Wanderers rugby club have managed to raise thousands of pounds thanks to community support.
Over the course of two weekends the club raised £12,000 and a percentage of that is to be used to support a ‘thank you day’ for local emergency, key and care workers at a Thanet Wanderers lunch, when rugby resumes.
The balance will be used to support the Schools and Community Programme and to improve facilities at the club for the juniors section and community, including floodlights and storage.
Club President Colin Whiteley praised the fund-raising efforts of the Paul Keohane Sports Fund and the club’s junior section coaches and players.
The club said: “The resultant generosity of the community will allow much needed renovation of some essential equipment and help fund future projects when rugby returns.”
The aim of the club’s Schools and Community programme is to “welcome, engage and involve as many members of our local schools and community as possible, this can be as players, supporters, volunteers or visitors.
“We want to make everyone feel welcome and to feel involved in shaping the present and the future of our wonderful club”.
The club’s junior and mini section have been organising online challenges to engage their members and wider community,
The Paul Keohane Sports Fund - set up to engage and enthuse Thanet school children to play rugby and fund coaching - launched a challenge where participants were required to post a video of themselves recalling their association with the Wanderers, raising a toast, confirming a donation and nominating someone else to continue the challenge.
By the end of the weekend there were over 700 posts, from people from around the globe aged five to 91.
“It was an amazing response,” said the club.
“So many memories were shared, demonstrating clearly how important Wanderers Rugby Club is to so many. The video responses also cemented an absolute desire to support our club’s aim to reach out and involve our community.”
An online end-of-season party also took place, kicking off with an online training session, attended by over 100 mini and junior players.
An ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ took place and urged people to 'partake, donate and nominate.'
The club’s junior chairman Chris Panteli commented on what had taken place:“Exceptional efforts, fantastic challenges, very funny videos, lots of banter and I’m sure it will continue.
“What we’ve shown is what a great community we really are”.
At the conclusion of the fund-raising events, John Keohane, trustee of the Paul Keohane
Sports Fund said: “My fellow trustees and I am staggered by the response to the fund-raising
events, it truly shows what a fantastic community club Thanet Wanderers is.
“The charity was set up for my brother, who we unfortunately lost five years ago. Paul was an absolutely passionate sportsman and truly believed in the power of sport and how it can bring a community together.
“I know he’ll be looking down and smiling and saying great effort. This is all about getting children into sport, getting them engaged, giving them great role models and doing all the right things to provide opportunity for our school children and community”.
Over the two weekends over 1,000 videos and photos were posted over social media.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell