RUGBY CLUB HONOURS STALWART PROP
ERDINGTON RUGBY CLUB has created a lasting legacy in memory of a club stalwart who dedicated 50 years of his life to the side. Alan Howes died in 2019 after a battle with motor neurone disease (MND) – but his beloved club was still at the forefront of his mind in his final weeks.
One of the the ex=prop’s last requests was to ask people attending his funeral to donate money to the Erdington U8’s team.
As a result the club will now be organising an annual U8’s tag rugby festival in Alan’s memory. Erdington’s Head Coach, Phil Spencer, said “Alan joined Erdington RFC 50 years ago and it was his final wish that donations be sent to the club to fund it’s lowest age group. Donations totalled nearly £1,500 including £350 from his work colleagues at Vetchbury Steels, in Witton.
Alan’s stepson Tom Owen has donated a trophy for the first festival which will take place on 29th March. We’re hoping Alans wife Jayne will present the trophy.
Alan’s struggle with MND also inspired club members to raise awareness of the debilitating disease which attacks the nerves that control movement. Erdington teamed up with Greater Birmingham Rugby Football Union for a showpiece event in support of former Scotland international and British Lions star Doddie Weir who was diagnosed with MND in 2016.
The fundraised was hosted by Erdington’s RFC’s sponsors Hennessey’s Bar in Birmingham, with England rugby legend Roger Uttley who was both an England international and England manager as the guest speaker.
A total of £4,000 was raised for the ‘My Name’5 Doddie Foundation” set by up Weir to fund research into the causes of MND, investigate potential cures and make grants to individuals suffering from the disease.
The support for MND is not Erdington RFC’s only social project, as the club is also running a bold initiative to tackle knife crime in inner city Birmingham by getting young people involved in rugby.
The pioneering Changing Lives Through Rugby Scheme was launched last January to run coaching sessions for U15’s from four inner city North Birmingham schools, focusing on youngsters who could benefit from the core disciplines of rugby.
For more information on Erdington Rugby Club, and its Changing Lives Through Rugby campaign, visit www.erfc.uk