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18th January 2019
Sport and fitness

We were recently delighted to welcome some well-known faces from the world of rugby for a team building event with Team Solent Sharks, our wheelchair rugby team. 

Welsh rugby legend, Shane Williams; England women’s rugby captain, Tamara Taylor; and former England Rugby Sevens captain, Ollie Phillips were at Solent with the Wooden Spoon charity to select their teams for the charity’s biggest fundraising challenge yet – the  LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge. The Challenge will see four teams, headed by Shane, Tamara, Ollie, and former English rugby international, Lee Mears climb Mount Everest to play each other in what will be the highest game of full-contact rugby, and the highest game of mixed rugby in history. 

The teams for the LMAX Everest Rugby Challenge

After the selection, the four teams were each joined by Team Solent Sharks players for a round-robin tournament of five-minute matches, which took place over an hour. They finished the session with a head-to-head match against Team Solent Sharks. 

Shane Williams in a wheelchair rugby match with Solent Sharks

Tamara Taylor in a wheelchair rugby match with Solent Sharks

Solent's Head of Sport Programmes, Matt Bishop said, "It's always a pleasure to host our friends from Wooden Spoon here at the University. This is the second event in the last year where we've been able to work with the charity to raise awareness about their projects and our club, Team Solent Sharks. I've always been inspired by the work they do and their most recent Everest Challenge once again shows the extraordinary lengths people will go to raise vital money for disadvantaged children in the UK. I wish all the challengers the best of luck and will be following their progress closely."

We're fairly sure the team captains and the Everest challengers enjoyed the experience!

About Wooden Spoon

Wooden Spoon changes children’s lives through the power of rugby. They fund around 70 projects each year, ranging from community programmes and specialist playgrounds to medical treatment centres and sensory rooms. Since they were founded in 1983, they have distributed over £26 million to more than 700 projects, helping more than a million children. 

Wooden Spoon has a number of high-profile supporters within the world of rugby union, many of whom take part in challenges to raise money for the projects supported by the charity.

Find out more

Partnership with Solent

Solent University and Wooden Spoon have been partners for a number of years.

The partnership began with some floodlights! Wooden Spoon heard about the first game of rugby to take place under the new floodlights at Solent's Test Park sports ground and sent a message asking if the team would wear Wooden Spoon rugby shirts for the evening and to raise money for the charity. Wooden Spoon CEO, Sarah Webb came to the match and subsequently to the University and was inspired by Solent Sharks, our wheelchair rugby team. One of Wooden Spoon’s main benefactors is a Solent alumni and they wanted to support the Sharks – hence why the team wear the Wooden Spoon logo on their shirts.

The partnership has benefited both Solent and Wooden Spoon – staff have taken part in fundraising events and Pete Hull MBE, Solent Sharks’ Chairman, has been invited to be a guest speaker at Wooden Spoon events. This year, the University’s staff social events group, Staff Scene, nominated Wooden Spoon as its official charity – a cheque for £800 was presented to the charity’s CEO, Sarah Webb by Solent Staff Scene representative, Claire Taylor and Matt Bishop, Solent's Head of Sport Programmes.

Solent University presents a cheque to Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon (l-r: Tamara Taylor; Solent's Matt Bishop, Shane Williams; Wooden Spoon CEO, Sarah Webb; Solent's Claire Taylor; Ollie Phillips)