After seven exhausting days on the road, the Gallagher ‘Road to Twickenham’ cycle reached its destination on Saturday, June 18, with a core contingent of rugby legends delivering the Gallagher Premiership Trophy to Twickenham Stadium for the 2022 Gallagher Premiership Final – as well as a fundraising total far exceeding expectation.
In an impressive feat of physical prowess and mental strength, the combination of core riders and day riders managed to raise over £50,000 – smashing their original £30,000 target. The money will all go to children’s charity of rugby Wooden Spoon and local Gallagher Premiership Rugby Foundations, after completing a circuitous cycle route that took in 11 of the 13 Gallagher Premiership clubs’ home grounds.
Hundreds took part across the week-long challenge including ex-England captain Martin Johnson, ex-England international Jack Clifford, and ex-Scotland international Nathan Hines. The crew was also joined for the entirety of the journey by GB ParaTri Athlete Louis Rolfe MBE, who won gold and bronze at the Rio Paralympics as a track cyclist.
The group completed the final big leg of their journey on Friday 17 June, which took them to Harlequins’ Stoop – having started seven days previously at Kingston Park Stadium, home of the Newcastle Falcons and passing notable landmarks such as the Angel of the North, Glastonbury Tor and Clifton Suspension Bridge.
A core pack of riders, which included Hines, Clifford, Rolfe, Will Johnson, Rob Vickers, Charlie Sharples, Jonny Arr and Tom Catterick then delivered the trophy to Twickenham Stadium on Saturday morning ahead of Leicester Tigers’ memorable 15-12 victory to claim the title.
Many of the other hundreds of riders joined in for a portion of the journey, including Roger Uttley MBE, Tom Stephenson, Paul Volley, Ollie Phillips, Danny Grewcock, Matt Salter, Lee Mears and Sam Twomey, while Gallagher ambassador and Harlequins legend Ugo Monye, unable to take part due to injury, cheered the core team over the line in Twickenham.
The huge amount of money raised is headed for Gallagher’s charity partner Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity for rugby which funds life-changing projects across the UK and Ireland, as well as club rugby Foundations throughout the Gallagher Premiership. The funds raised will go towards projects such as the HITZ programme: Premiership Rugby’s award winning education and employability programme. Through such programmes, Wooden Spoon is helping disadvantaged young people reclaim their futures by helping them develop life skills, improve their mental health and wellbeing and provide education to help their employability.
Nathan Hines, ex-Scotland international and Development Director for Premiership Rugby at Gallagher, commented: “After so many months of planning, it was amazing to finally clip in at Kingston Park just after dawn and get underway on the Ride to Twickenham. The seven days that followed were long and tough but culminated in an emotional and incredibly rewarding journey. I’m so proud of the guys who took part, as well as all our colleagues and clients that joined us along the way, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their donations. I miss the competitive aspect of being on the rugby field so it was great to push myself physically again! I want to say a big thank you to the team at Gallagher for their support in making this happen.”
Wooden Spoon’s CEO, Sarah Webb, said: “Thank you to Gallagher and Premiership Rugby. The Road to Twickenham has been an amazing event and is such a great example of the rugby community coming together to achieve great things. The funds raised from The Road to Twickenham will enable Wooden Spoon to support more vulnerable children across the UK and Ireland and I am very grateful to everyone involved.”
Charlie Scott, Chief Financial Officer for Gallagher across EMEA and one of the hundreds of day riders that joined the core pack of rugby legends on the challenge, added: “The ‘Ride to Twickenham’ was the perfect way to end another fantastic and successful season of the Gallagher Premiership. Grassroots engagement and giving back to the wider rugby community have been at the heart of our partnership with Premiership Rugby from the very start. So it was fitting to visit Premiership clubs the length and breadth of the country while on our mission to raise such a significant amount of money for the league’s 13 charitable foundations, as well as Wooden Spoon.
“Together these amazing organisations carry out life-changing projects focused on children and young adults, enabling them to develop the skills, knowledge and tools to enjoy brighter futures, and create positive change in local communities. We couldn’t be more delighted to be able to play a part in helping them continue this amazing work.”
Mark Brittain, Chief Commercial Officer at Premiership Rugby, said: “The huge success of the ‘Ride to Twickenham’ is testament to the bond we have with Gallagher – it’s a partnership that improves year on year. Wooden Spoon is a charity incredibly close to our hearts and we’re delighted that so much money was raised for them.”
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Header image: Core riders, Nathan Hines and Jack Clifford pose with the other core riders after completing Road to Twickenham Cycle Ride in association with the build-up to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final 2022. Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK