Mike wants Bury to go up

DESERVED RECOGNITION: Andrew Sarek RFU Councill Member for E Counties presenting the Runner Up in the National RFU Presidents Award to Jan Bloomfield from the Hospital, alongside Martyn Wagner, Vice Principle at the College, Nigel Brown, former W S College Rugby Coach, and Mike Hemingway, Bury Club President.
DESERVED RECOGNITION: Andrew Sarek RFU Councill Member for E Counties presenting the Runner Up in the National RFU Presidents Award to Jan Bloomfield from the Hospital, alongside Martyn Wagner, Vice Principle at the College, Nigel Brown, former W S College Rugby Coach, and Mike Hemingway, Bury Club President.

BURY St Edmunds’ Mike Robinson has set his sights on gaining promotion to the National League after being installed as the rugby club’s new chairman.

The appointment came following the club’s AGM last week with the former playing-chairman of 20 years and organiser of the hugely successful annual ULR Sevens tournament, succeeding Phil Torkington.

Robinson has had a long association with the Haberden outfit having joined as a player in 1984, playing at all levels including three years as Wolves captain before retiring from the game due to injury in 1999.

Robinson spoke of his obvious delight at being offered the role and set out his philosophy to take the club forward.

“Obviously I am delighted with the news and it is a great honour to be put in as club chairman,” he said.

“I have been dedicated to this club for many years and I am now determined to keep taking this club moving upwards.

“My philosophy as chairman will be to try to take the whole club forward, from the minis to the first team, and build further on all that has been achieved over the last few years, focusing particularly on reaching greater heights on the pitch, maximising enjoyment and increasing participation at all levels.

“My two greatest aims are firstly to focus our efforts on achieving National League Rugby at Bury and, secondly, to provide all of our young players, from the age of six upwards, the opportunity and means to not only gain maximum enjoyment and pleasure out of this fantastic game of ours, but also to help them to develop to be the best possible players that they can be in their career at Bury and beyond.

“We believe we have a good chance of fulfilling our aim of promotion because we have put a strong squad together and I feel we have the best chance ever, we will certainly give it everything we have.”

Torkington and Mike Hemmingway, who has retired as club president to be replaced by Gerry Lowden, dedicated 17 years combined service as committee members and will also be joined by Nigel Birrell, commercial director and Hameed Alkhasan, minis chairman, in retiring.

Robinson, Lowden and Chris Berry, new Vice-Chairman, are joined by new committee members Andy Spetch as Playing Chairman, Ali Evans, Olly Jackson and Gary Lofthouse.

The new club chairman took the opportunity to thank the retiring members and in particular Torkington for his contribution to the club.

“I would like to thank all of our retiring committee members for their major contributions to the success of the Club and in particular Phil Torkington,” he added.

“Under his stewardship, supported and assisted by a committed Executive Committee, the club has been transformed off the pitch to be what I believe to be the best in East Anglia in terms of facilities, professional management, ethos and atmosphere”.

<n> Meanwhile, the club collected three awards at the recent Counties Dinner, held at Ickworth House.

The most significant award was Runner Up in the National RFU Presidents Award for Coose Rugby which was collected by outgoing club president Mike Hemmingway.

This was awarded for a collaboration with the West Suffolk College Rugby Academy and the West Suffolk Hospital to encourage Hospital staff to get more active and involved in Rugby via a World Cup themed Tag Rugby Competition.

The work of Phil Torkington was also recognised by the Eastern Counties Volunteers Committee as he was awarded a set of silver RFU cuff links for his work in helping its community links via the significant Capital Developments at the club over his 10 year tenure.

And finally, Mike Robinson was delighted to receive the RFU Accreditation Certificates and Wall Plaque as part of the RFU’s Seal of Approval.