SporTedd and the Wharf in Teddington have once more combined forces to host an exhilarating charity event last night.
SporTedd is the brainchild of local businessman Stuart Higgins. He has inspired local men and women to raise funds to help finance sport-related good causes across Twickenham, Teddington and Hampton.
In the past, SporTedd has had many inspirational sports personalities talk at their fundraising events. Last night was no exception with guest speakers Sir Clive Woodward and England Rugby referee Wayne Barnes taking the floor. Alison Kervin, who is Sports Editor for the Mail on Sunday interviewed them both during a lively and entertaining Q&A.
For Sir Clive the questions revolved around the loss of England to South Africa in the final of the Rugby World Cup. As the only coach to have led an England team to the Rugby World Championship, Sir Clive was gracious in his replies whilst providing insights into technicalities and hurdles of coaching a rugby team to success.
Wayne Barnes brought another perspective to a side of rugby that we all take for granted. Maybe we watch decisions made, shout for the TMO and sit there thinking we could do better than the “Ref”. Wayne received the accolade of being named the top referee at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
He delighted the audience with a multitude of wonderful tales of refereeing moments on and off the pitch. He talked about apologising to Martin Johnson for sin-binning him in his first season in 2003. He was voted the third most hated man in New Zealand after missing a forward pass that led to a French try in 2007. With a wry smile he admitted that it was impressive.
His best memory was in Cardiff when Ireland played France in the last game of the 2015 World Cup. The atmosphere left a spectacular lasting impression on him.
He loves Twickenham because he can walk to work, as home is only 500m from Twickenham Stadium. He is famous in the world of Rugby for sporting a referee’s shirt, but Wayne Barnes also has another “string to his bow” – he is also a practising barrister at Fulcrum Chambers housed within the Shard at London Bridge.
He is very supportive of initiatives like SporTedd, because they help to make sport more accessible to everyone, in times when funding issues are putting more pressure on councils and governing bodies. Sport is massively important to communities not just for participation and competition but for health and fitness too.
Ray Neve at the Wharf has continued to be a fervent supporter of SporTedd and provided a beautiful riverside setting for last night’s event. A proportion of the price of the delicious three-course dinner was added to the charitable coffers, which by the end of the evening had amassed nearly £3,300. This was a special evening for SporTedd and its members. Plans are ahead for several other events this year including an evening with Gary Lineker. Many local sports groups and charities continue to benefit from its generosity. The evening was one of pure enjoyment where charity and unforgettable entertainment are entwined concluding with a most satisfying “final whistle”.