Grants help save Armed Forces Day rugby event

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THIS year’s Armed Forces day rugby event at Crosfields nearly didn’t happen due to a funding crisis.

But thanks to grants from Warrington Borough Council and Great Sankey Parish Council, the event has been able to proceed as planned.

For the past twelve years, Warrington’s annual Armed Forces Day has seen local and military rugby league teams face off at Crosfields Recreation Club on Hood Lane North, Great Sankey. Teams compete for three trophies, each named in honour of three Penketh servicemen and friends, who were each killed or seriously injured in Afghanistan in the summer of 2010.

The Day is one of Warrington’s standout events. There’s a festival atmosphere, which brings thousands of people and dozens of local community groups to the recreation ground to participate, fundraise and watch the action. The Army Rugby League XIII currently holds the ‘Sephton ‘Trophy after beating Crosfields 20-22 in 2019, when the last fixture took place.

The ‘20 and ‘21 festivals were cancelled as a result of the COVID restrictions. This year, too, it very nearly didn’t happen.

“I got a phone call earlier this month from the Army Rugby League Club Secretary, informing me that the Army Sports Control Board had had to cut its funding support for the event at the last minute”, said Great Sankey South Cllr. Amanda King.

“This would have meant none of the three Army teams could attend — so there would be no event.

“He’d done his best and got a few concessions, but even then there just wasn’t enough cash to go around. If we didn’t do something fast, the event would have to be cancelled. So I picked up the phone, hoping we could find enough support within three weeks.”

After Cllr King contacted Prof. Stephen Broomhead and Theresa Whitfield at Warrington Borough Council, the Council secured a one-off grant of £1,200 to the Army Rugby League club.

Cllr King also contacted Peter Watson, Chair of Great Sankey Parish Council, and the Parish Council soon made a generous £1000 donation, after a careful examination of its budget.

“I was really touched by the generosity shown by the Borough Council and Great Sankey Parish Council. Without their help the event might not have gone ahead.”, said Cllr King.

“The Tom Sephton Trophy is one of Warrington’s biggest and best community events, and we should be equally grateful to all of the kind volunteers and sponsors who donate/donated their time and money to make the day a success.”

“It’s great to see it back, and it should be/was a fantastic day out!”

The 2022 Warrington Armed Forces Day (AFD) Tom Sephton Memorial Trophy will take place tomorrow, Saturday 25th June, at Crosfields Recreation Ground.


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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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