DAVE GOODERHAM: Event was about more than just sport

A personal view
A personal view
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It was Steve Savage, of Frames Conservatories Direct, who summed it up best. “If they weren’t here, they would probably be away from Bury St Edmunds on the beach.”

Instead, an estimated 3,000 people-plus took their place in the sun at the Haberden to enjoy good food and drink and great rugby at the Greene King IPA Bury St Edmunds Sevens tournament.

The success of staging such a sporting tournament in our town really cannot be over-stated.

Now in its fifth year, the day has grown and grown in stature with the likes of Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers pitching up.

A quick glance at the Aviva Premiership table shows this is the equivalent of having a Manchester City or Chelsea squad playing in a football tournament – in Bury St Edmunds.

But I am not here to talk about football. Only praise the men and women associated with Bury Rugby Club – and the sport in general.

Volunteers are a big part of any sport and the success of Bury can be directly linked to the success of those who give up their time for free.

The 7s might see thousands congregate at the club but it is just a snapshot of the hard work, dedication and commitment that so many show week-in, week-out.

But this is just in keeping with a sport, which teaches valuable life skills off-the-pitch, as much as sporting prowess on it.

This was illustrated by England star Dylan Hartley who patiently and with good grace spent time chatting to fans, posing for photographs and signing autographs. Now you could argue that was what he was there for. But there are ways of doing it and ways of showing you are happy to do so. Dylan, like the 7s’ guests of honour before him, hit the perfect pitch.

The club’s juniors could be seen helping ensure the tournament was largely hitch-free while the burgeoning Bury Foxes proved a big hit in the inaugural ladies competition.

I was honoured to play a small part in the day and it was a great event to be part of. Obviously the weather always helps, even if I was displaying all the colours of the lobster on Sunday evening, but the success of both the rugby on show and the overall event supporting it is testimony to everyone connected with Bury Rugby Club.

It was a perfect starting point to what should, hopefully, be a great summer of events in the town.

And as Steve pointed out, isn’t it great to have an incredible amount of people supporting Bury rather than looking elsewhere to enjoy some early summer sun?