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A wonderful and enduring legacy emerged in 1983 after England's Rugby team was defeated by the Irish. Drowning their sorrows in a Dublin bar, some English fans were presented with a wooden spoon by the victorious Irish to symbolise a winless Five Nations Championship. Accepting the prize with as much good humour and grace as could be mustered under the circumstances, the friends resolved to have a charity golf match to see who would have the honour of keeping the spoon. The money raised by their efforts funded a minibus for a local school and the idea for Wooden Spoon was born.
"When a group of my friends made that journey to Ireland we never imagined that what started out as a bit of fun could turn out to be a charity that has achieved so much. The recognition of the IRB through the Spirit of Rugby Award acknowledges the tremendous effort by our regional volunteers and all that have helped Wooden Spoon throughout the years and I am extremely privileged to accept this prestigious award on their behalf" Peter Scott, Life President and founder member of Wooden Spoon.
Since these very humble beginnings Wooden Spoon has gone on to donate in excess of £17 million pounds, funding close to 500 projects and positively impacting over 500,000 young lives. The projects supported range from adventure trails to hydrotherapy pools, sensory rooms to playgrounds. In recent times Wooden Spoon have also launched a community based rugby programme called Game On! The community rugby based initiative uses sport and physical activity as a vehicle to engage young people in positive community activities and helping bring about social change under the most challenging of circumstances.
The charity operates its fundraising activity through a regional structure, with 40 volunteer committees across England, Ireland Scotland and Wales, who give up their time and work tirelessly to arrange events in their areas, ensuring that all proceeds raised by local volunteers stay within their region to support projects within their community.
"The recognition by the IRB through the Spirit of Rugby Award is testament to the true spirit of rugby that is very much alive in our supporters, regional volunteers and staff who always remember to have fun but who are constantly working to help the charity grow and achieve more. This is a very proud moment for the charity." Bill Hill, Wooden Spoon CEO.
It was a truly special night for everyone involved with Wooden Spoon over the years, and we thank you for you continued time and effort that you all so generously give. It was a sincere pleasure to see our charities name up in lights and sharing a stage with the worlds greatest player, past and present, and hopefully this will give us a platform to provide even more opportunities and support for disadvantaged youths all over the British Isles. IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset had some touching words about our charity and what the award means:
"The Spirit of Rugby Award recognises the wonderful achievements of selfless individuals who use Rugby to influence the lives of others and through the Game create a force for good in all areas of the World," said the IRB Chairman.
"I am delighted to present the Award for 2011 to Wooden Spoon who epitomise the courage, camaraderie and respect which underlie Rugby's unique spirit. For 25 years the charity has touched the lives of underprivileged children providing hope, friendship and enjoyment in an environment of understanding and care. The Wooden Spoon is a truly worthy recipient of this wonderful Award."
Company No 1847860 Registered in England 115-117 Fleet Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 3PD.
Reg Charity in England and Wales No: 326691, Scotland No: SC039247