Leicester Tigers and England scum half Ben Youngs delivers a message to Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club youngsters to cap off virtual pass for the NHS
After they sent a virtual pass through the hands of 179 different people in honour of the NHS, Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club's youngsters have received a surprise message from one of the stars of the professional game.
The Premiership's record try scorer, former Leicester Tigers and Wasps England-capped winger Tom Varndell had already joined in their staying at home passing challenge in honour of the NHS, key workers and fund-raising for their rugby club.
But now, their fine efforts have been rewarded with a special challenge sign off message from England's most capped scrum half, current Leicester Tigers player Ben Youngs.
What was thought to be the last video of the club's Minis section (U6 to U12s) chairman Craig Germeney's edit of the virtual pass came out on Monday revealed a 'new signing' for the club in matchday mascot Wolfie.
But another edit has now been posted, promising to be the final one, with Youngs' surprise message.
In it he says: "It is fantastic to know that so many youngsters are enjoying their rugby at Bury St Edmunds. I am not surprised though as I know the club pretty well from my time playing against them at North Walsham and Holt.
"I know that the core values of rugby runs through that club from the top to bottom and bottom to top and there is a huge amount of volunteers that give up their Sunday to make sure that everyone who loves the game has an enjoyable weekend. Keep up the fantastic work.
"To all the youngsters out there I know you are probably desperate to start playing again but whilst this is going on keep up the skills, keep up the fitness and once you get out there make sure you enjoy it. So stay safe, take care and all the very best."
Minis chair Germeney explained how the virtual pass came about during the coronavirus lockdown saying: “When rugby training was cancelled I thought this could be a good way to keep the kids engaged.
“Footballers were doing something similar with toilet rolls and I thought it was a great idea. But toilet rolls was not really appropriate for us, so we’ve used rugby balls.
"In the first video we had nine participants.
“The parents have been great at sending their videos in and the kids look like they have been enjoying it.”
Speaking about how Ben Youngs got involved, he said: "I was introduced to Ben Youngs at a Tom Smith charity event where he agreed to do a video message which was going to be used in our U12 graduation at the end of the season.
"With the change in events, I asked him to do this instead and he was more than willing and had a message over to me within a few hours.
"I thought the highlight was going to be the introduction of Wolfie, our new club mascot but clearly having ben involved as well is great and a massive boost for everyone."
Germeney has been sending out regular updates to club members on the virtual pass videos and is hoping it can help more widely with encouraging people to donate to the £50,000 appeal to cover the club’s income deficit. As of Wednesday morning it stood at £11,000 (22%).
You can donate to the appeal by clicking here.
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More by this authorRussell Claydon