To celebrate the RFU’s 150th Anniversary, RFU President, His Honour Jeff Blackett walked 150 miles across 15 days in October and November 2021. Fundraising for the RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF) and raising awareness of the work the charity does, Jeff Blackett walked 10 miles each day within various RFU Constituent Bodies starting in Hampshire on the 22nd October and finishing in Middlesex on the 5th November.
On Monday 25th October, Jeff, accompanied by his wife Sally walked their 10 miles in Hertfordshire. However, before they set out they visited Harkness Roses who have cultivated a special rose to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the RFU. Following an informative talk by Phillip Harkness, about the cultivation of the RFU Rose, they were presented with a potted RFU rose.
Various representatives from Hertfordshire RFU and Herts Clubs, including Steve Grainger, a disabled player who is a beneficiary of the IPF, then assembled at Old Albanian RFC to join Jeff on the walk. The first leg was from OAs via St Albans town centre and Clarence Park to Marshalswick. There, the manager of the M&S Foodhall presented Jeff with the proceeds from a collection for the IPF, which had been held at the shop.
From Marshalswick, Jeff, his wife and the accompanying party set forth for St Albans Rugby Club via Sandpit Lane and Oakland’s College. After refreshments at the club, the walking party was joined by Hertfordshire’s President, John Gregory and Chairman, Adrian Sparks on the last leg across country to Verulamian RFC.
The day was rounded off with a fundraising dinner in the Verulamian’s Club House, attended by some fifty representatives from Hertfordshire rugby including Nick Cave, another recipient of help from the IPF. Following the meal John Gregory welcomed Jeff Blackett and the assembled company. Colin Haslam then gave a short talk about the work of the IPF, before Jeff Blackett thanked everyone for their support in an entertaining speech.
When the proceeds from the collections en route and M&S were combined with the evening’s fundraising some £2k was raised for the IPF.
The following day Jeff and Sally continued their walk in Cambridge and they will continued each day through various counties until they reach Twickenham on Friday 5th November, the evening before England’s first Autumn International vs Tonga.