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Phil Vickery on Wooden Spoon and Sunsail at the London Boat Show

Emdad Rahman

THE ANNUAL London Boat Show has returned to ExCeL London and was launched, amidst much fanfare, at a fabulous opening ceremony by Joanna Lumley OBE. Among the special guests in attendance was Rugby World Cup winning legend, England, British & Irish Lions captain and Master Chef Phil Vickery – who was at the Show to represent the Wooden Spoon Children’s charity as its lead Ambassador. 

Wooden Spoon has teamed up with UK sailing company Sunsail to launch the Wooden Spoon Regatta which takes place on 28th September 2017. Competitors will race on Sunsail’s fleet of 30 identical Beneteau First Match 40s, with each entry fee for the regatta to include a donation to the charity.

vickery-1In addition to the fundraising, competitors will enjoy a full day of sailing and teambuilding, with their guests trained by Sunsail’s expert skippers. Competitors will also have the opportunity to upgrade their entry to an Ambassador Package, which will add a rugby or sailing legend to their team, allowing their guests to rub shoulders with a sporting great.

Vickery was nicknamed Raging Bull during his glorious playing career. The Gloucester Rugby and Wasps Rugby Union legend said, “Well, I’m here with Sunsail and I’m lead Ambassador for a children’s charity called Wooden Spoon, and we’re doing a regatta on the 28th of September in conjunction with Sunsail, so I’m here to give out a bit of promotion today. Wooden Spoon shares a similar outlook to rugby – its values, what it stands for and the great work which we do. Wooden Spoon have been providing exemplary service since 1983, that’s 20 years plus, and given millions of pounds away to benefit disabled and disadvantaged kids up and down the country and from all walks of life and backgrounds. Although it’s a rugby charity, it’s not just for rugby kids, and the work we do, from wheelchair rugby to sailing, just goes on and on.

“I love the Sunsail guys for the support they give us. We share very similar values and work in conjunction in what we try to achieve. I’m going to get on the boat myself. I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly good sailor, but I do enjoy being on the water and I’m looking forward to that experience.

“Us in the rugby world are pretty good at being involved in charitable causes. We’re a very giving bunch. From being an amateur to playing rugby at the top, playing and captaining England, winning the World Cup, representing the British & Irish Lions, I’ve had a fulfilling career – but I’ve never forgot how important charity is, and I’m extremely proud of my game of rugby and the huge role they play in supporting communities.”

vickery-3You can’t interview Phil Vickery and not talk about his glittering career highlights. “It has to be winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003. I can look back and say high notes were playing for England under 16s to playing for the British & Irish Lions to captaining England. There’s so many moments, but winning the World Cup was just massive.”

I talked to the 2011 Celebrity Masterchef champion about how rugby is coached in schools by charities like the Tower Hamlets Foundation. Vickery places a huge emphasis on mentoring young people and offered useful advice. “Generally with kids, wherever you’re from and whichever background, whatever you believe in, sport is fun and tag rugby particularly is a great sport. It gets kids outside, engages with other people, engages with coaches, chucking a ball around – laughing, joking, smiling, exercising. That’s what sport is supposed to be.”

Vickery came up with the concept of a Rugby Sportswear and Clothing fashion line, which essentially supplied kits to schools and has progressed onto professional teams and universities. Raging Bull soon ventured into casual lifestyle clothing, embodying the spirit of its namesake – hardwearing, distinctive and honest.”

The Raging Bull concludes, “I will continue to promote rugby. I’m being kept busy with my clothing business Raging Bull. I’m still involved with the game and do my bits of TV. I love the game just as much as when I first started playing it and feel privileged to have done what I’ve done.”

Leyton Orient -v- Barnet, with homeless friends from Whitechapel Booth House. #League2 #Orient #LeytonOrient

For more information about the Wooden Spoon Regatta, contact:
Michael Hlavety – Sunsail Event Manager:
Tel: 0208 2346279
Email: [email protected]
Danni Milwain – Wooden Spoon Head of Fundraising:
Tel: 01252 773720
Email: [email protected]

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