Rugby - Oundle girls scrum down for charity

Thommy Purbrook's parents, Clive and Belinda, are pictured with the players.
Thommy Purbrook's parents, Clive and Belinda, are pictured with the players.

Girls from the sixth form at Oundle School raised £1,450 in a charity rugby match held in memory of one of their former pupils.

For seven years now, girls from the sixth form have joined together to play a game of rugby in memory of Thommy Purbrook and to raise money for The Thommy Purbrook General Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Action from the charity game at Oundle.

Action from the charity game at Oundle.

This year’s match took place on Sunday March 1) and so far has already raised nearly £1450.  

Thommy’s career at Oundle was tragically cut short when she died from meningitis while on a school trip to St Petersburg in December 2008. A scholarship fund was established by Thommy’s parents, Clive and Belinda, with the intention of it being awarded to a child who, like Thommy, would take full advantage of the academic and extra-curricular opportunities that Oundle can offer.

The first recipient is now at the School, in Thommy’s old House, Sanderson.  

Thommy’s time at Oundle was marked by her enthusiasm, energy and determination and one of her many talents was rugby – she was captain of the girls’ rugby team.

For this year’s match, the 1st XV captain Emma Kemsley-Pein (18) and vice-captain Annabelle Sherwood (18) organised a team each.

The end result of the match was 34-5 to the Wyatt, New House and Dryden girls who proudly received The Thommy Purbrook Plate from Mr and Mrs Purbrook.

Rugby coach Ian Clark said: “The match was a tribute to the commitment of the girls, with some huge tackles and dogged defence. Both sides performed admirably, and thanks to the organisers and competitors for carrying on this important tradition.” 

Thommy’s father, Clive Purbrook, added: “As ever, it was a wonderful day both on and off the pitch, and the amount of money raised for Thommy’s fund is fantastic.  Belinda, Barney and myself are all very touched that the match played by the girls in Thommy’s memory has become so firmly entrenched in the school’s calendar, and is approached by the girls and everybody else who plays a part with such a fantastic spirit. 

“The quality of the rugby on display was also a testament to the girls’ talents.”

Headmaster Charles Bush said: “This occasion is always a wonderful festival of girls’ rugby at Oundle, played in a carnival atmosphere, raising a huge amount for a very important charity.  It also celebrates the excellent state of girls’ rugby at Oundle which is so strong partly as a result of Thommy’s massive contribution to the growth of the game.”

Anyone wishing to donate please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=thommypurbrookcharitymatch&isTeam=true