Uni rugby teams scrum together for disability charity

8 November 2016

Oxford Universitys rugby teams meeting residents from Agnes CourtOxford University’s rugby teams dropped in to see residents at a Banbury home for disabled adults, which will be supported by their forthcoming annual Varsity match against Cambridge.

Donning team blazers, 18 members of the Oxford University men and women’s teams visited Agnes Court, run by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, on Sunday 6 November to see how vital donations support residents with life-enhancing care and support.

The players chatted to residents over tea and cakes before presenting them with a signed rugby ball.

The gift has taken pride of place alongside the rugby balls gifted to the home by the University's teams in 2014 and 2015.  

Resident John Major said:

‘I will be watching the match to see the players I met here.

‘I enjoyed their visit today, and got nostalgic because I was at Oxford myself.’

Resident and avid sports fan Andrew Mitchell said:

‘It was a really good visit. It was nice to talk to so many interesting people.’  

Women’s team captain Catherine Maywilcock, a 3rd year student at Wadham College, will be leading the side for the first time this year.

She said:

‘It’s been a really fun and interesting afternoon talking to the residents about their lives.

‘This is such a nice and supportive environment.

‘Coming here today opened my eyes to what the Varsity fundraising will go towards.  

‘If any of my closest family were at this home they would be really happy. That’s the most important thing.  

‘We want a good match on 8 December — for women’s rugby in particular.

‘It’s important to show we can perform at a high level and hopefully encourage other women to play rugby.

‘We want to show it’s a women’s sport as well as for men.’

Men’s team captain Fergus Taylor, a postgraduate student at St Catherine’s College, will also be leading the side for the first time.

He said:

‘Today’s visit has been great from a personal perspective and the squad have really enjoyed it too.

‘Supporting the service is really important because donations will help improve the residents’ quality of life.

‘The more money is raised, the greater impact it will have.’

The 135th Men’s and the 30th Women’s Varsity Match will take place at Twickenham Stadium on Thursday 8 December.

It is set to attract another packed crowd — eager to see Oxford University take on their age-old rival.

Leonard Cheshire Disability has historical links with Oxford. Its founder, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, a highly decorated British RAF pilot in the second world war, grew up in the city and went to the Dragon School.

In 1936, aged 18, he returned to his hometown to study jurisprudence at Merton College, Oxford.

Leonard Cheshire Disability supports thousands of disabled people every year to live as independently as possible.

It provides care and support services across the UK, including at Agnes Court and John Masefield House near Oxford.

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