Rugby World Cup Kicks Off with Successful Charity Lunch

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More than £17,000 was raised on Friday for the Dorset-based charity Diverse Abilities Plus at an inaugural Rugby Lunch at Hoburne Park in Christchurch, held to coincide with the start of the Rugby World Cup. British Lion Rugby star and former Welsh international Rugby Union fly-half Phil Bennett OBE was a guest speaker, alongside former English Rugby and British Lion legend David Duckham MBE. The event was attended by almost 200 people and featured a charity auction and raffle.

Children supported by Diverse Abilities Plus meet Rugby legends

We are absolutely delighted with the event and are extremely grateful to all those who helped to make it such as great success.

Funds raised at the lunch will contribute towards the provision of Diverse Abilities Plus support services for children and adults with various disabilities across Dorset. The charity, which has been established in Dorset for more than 55 years, provides a range of assistance, support and education services including Langside School, Supported Living, Project My Time and Disability Wessex.

Many fantastic auction and raffle prizes were generously donated by the attending Rugby stars and various local businesses.

The auction included a driving day for two people at Castle Coombe including signed gloves from the Stig, professional driving instruction and the chance to drive a Ford Escort Mexico previously driven by Jeremy Clarkson. Further lots included a short break at Hoburne Doublebois in Cornwall, a day for two fly fishing for trout in the Test Valley, and original caricatures of Ollie Smith, Phil Bennett OBE and David Duckham MBE.

Also, a signed print which featured Rugby greats Lawrence Delaglio, Jason Robinson, Richard Hill and others from the last Six Nations Grand Slam, a Web Ellis rugby ball signed by the Welsh World Cup Squad, two 2 VIP tickets for Yeovil Town FC against Bournemouth and a Countrywide UK double garage door were available.

Raffle prizes included Rugby-themed memorabilia such as Dorset Sporting Club tickets for when Dean Richards MBE, ex England, British Lions and Leicester No8 will be speaking along with John Stiles (son of Nobby Stiles), and signed photos and autobiographies of the Rugby stars who attended. Also a Magnum of Champagne, two rounds of golf courtesy of Hoburne Golf, hampers, and food and drink prizes were handed out to a number of winners.

Tickets for the Harlequin vs London Irish Rugby match were kindly donated by England Rugby International and British Lion, Ollie Smith, who currently plays for the Harlequins. He had also hoped to attend although was unfortunately unable to on the day due to injury.

Barclays was the headline sponsor of the event. Andy Cranstone, Senior Business Manager, at Barclays Business, Bournemouth said: “The event was a great success and we are pleased that the charity was so well supported. Diverse Abilities Plus is a very worthy local charity, and all at Barclays are delighted to have been involved in such a fantastic event.”

Following the success of this year’s event, the charity has already set a date for next year - Friday 14 September 2012 – and is encouraging people to save the date. Helen Alexander, Fundraising Manager for Diverse Abilities Plus, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the event and are extremely grateful to all those who helped to make it such as great success. We have already decided to make the Rugby lunch an annual event, and we hope to be able to offer even more tickets in the future to meet the anticipated demand!”

For more information or to contact Diverse Abilities Plus please visit or call 01202 718266.


Editor's Notes

Diverse Abilities Plus is a charity that has been supporting children and adults with Cerebral Palsy and associated disabilities working in the County of Dorset, England for 55 years. The charity provides a range of assistance, support and education services for young people aged two to 19, adults and families. Services include:

  •     Langside School – independent, non maintained specialist day school for children and young people from the age of two to 19 years who have PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities). It’s one of only 19 similar SEN (special education needs) schools in the UK.
  •     Smithers – provides overnight and day short breaks. Short breaks help families manage the challenges of providing full time care for their child. A visit can be during the day or a ‘sleep over’ allowing the child to make and meet friends and relax and enjoy themselves.
  •     Shapes – provides home support (domiciliary care) for children and young people aged between two and 18 with individually tailored programs.
  •     Project My Time – provides child-led holiday activities that give young people with disabilities the same leisure and fun opportunities that their peers enjoy.
  •     Barnabas – a well equipped day setting for adults. Adults can learn new skills and enjoy a wide range of experiences.
  •     Supported living – this service is for people who live in their own home but may need up to 24/7 support.
  •     Disability Wessex - offers assistance with disability benefits for people with disabilities or chronic and acute health conditions and their families or carers, as well as the parents of disabled children.
  •     Play Opportunities - supports families with disabled children to have a chance to get out and enjoy themselves with other families in similar situations.
  •     Awesome Days and Awesome Nights – A youth group, set up and run by young people of all abilities, aged between 13 - 19 years.
  •     Face 2 Face – a free and confidential network of trained volunteer befrienders, who support parents to make positive adjustments to the news that their child has a disability or additional need. Every Face2Face befriender is a parent whose own child has a disability. They know what it's like to cope with a new diagnosis and can offer support parent to parent.

The charity was founded in 1955 by Mrs Phyllis Edwards who formed a group of parent’s intent on providing better opportunities for their children with physical and learning disabilities.

Visit Diverse Abilities Plus Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter at

For more information
Contact: Zoe Hiljemark, PR Account Director / Jenny Pearce, Senior PR Account Executive
E-mail: zoe(at)marketing-matters(dot)co(dot)uk / jenny(at)marketing-matters(dot)co(dot)uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 777111 / +44 (0) 7770 924439
Address: Marketing Matters, Unit C, Acorn Business Park, Ling Road, Poole, Dorset, UK, BH12 4NZ


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