Rugby clubs in Zambia and Afghanistan are benefitting thanks to Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club and one of their minis coaches.
Jonathan Derbyshire has been a minis coach at Bury Rugby since 2006 and when work commitments have meant he has to spend time abroad, his love of the sport has driven him to find ways to get involved with minis rugby wherever he is.
“I’ve spent long periods of time in Afghanistan and in Zambia in recent years,” said Derbyshire. “In Afghanistan there was no mini rugby club so with the help of donations from our club’s kit sponsor — Samurai, who provided the initial equipment — I started minis rugby, coaching children from the local market traders.
“Their enthusiasm is endless and it’s a real pleasure to see them grow to love the sport.”
In Zambia, rugby is well established and in Lusaka, the capital, there are three rugby clubs.
“I decided to get involved with Lusaka Rugby Club,” added Derbyshire. “The children come from a wide range of backgrounds, the poorest of whom walk several miles from their townships to be involved and get a bottle of Fanta or Coke at the end of the session.
“These children have no specific rugby clothing or footwear.
“Indeed many of them have no footwear at all.
“I was shocked to see that participation in rucking practice was restricted by the numbers of pairs of boots.
“So with the help of the Bury manager Jane Spetch we appealed to Bury players to donate old boots as well as collect those that were lost property and now I take them to Lusaka Rugby club every time I visit.”
If anyone would like to donate second-hand sporting equipment or boots, contact Spetch on 01284 753920.