Harlequins today (Tuesday 17th May) announced details of its plans to celebrate its 150th Anniversary next season.
The west London club started life in 1866 as Hampstead Football Club (HFC) before changing its name to Harlequin FC two years later. The club ranks among the six oldest in England – the others are Blackheath (1858), Richmond and Sale (1861), Bath (1865) and Wasps (1867).
Next season’s celebration will consist of a combination of special activities and a programme of events. Among the former are the production of a new retro style playing shirt with adidas that draws on a design from 1902; the publication of a new official illustrated history of the Club and a 45 minute documentary to be broadcast by BT Sport.
The programme of events includes a pre-season friendly with Glasgow Warriors, current Pro 12 champions, on the 20th August which is part of a full day at the Twickenham Stoop Stadium that also includes a veterans’ match between a Bob Hiller President’s XV and a Jason Leonard RFU President’s XV; a challenge match with the Maori All Blacks; Big Game 9 at Twickenham Stadium on 27th December and a special 150th Anniversary Celebration Dinner in May.
In addition, there will be supporters, past players and community events throughout the season.
Plans are in hand to include the Club’s eight overseas affiliate clubs in the celebration and the Harlequins Amateur, Ladies and Supporters' Clubs are playing a full part in the programme.
The main beneficiary of the proceeds of the year will be the Harlequins Foundation.
Commenting on the plans to mark the 150th Anniversary, Bob Hiller, Club President and Chairman of the 150th Anniversary Committee, said: “Next season (2016/17) is the 150th anniversary of our great club and in true Harlequin fashion this gives us the opportunity to celebrate in style our wonderful history and heritage.
"I believe that it’s important that we acknowledge our history and celebrate the legacy we’ve inherited and lay the foundations on which future generations can build. We hope that the Club’s Members and friends will participate in the activities and events we’ve planned.”
Overview of the programme of 150th anniversary activities and events
Over the past 18 months a committee representing the Club’s stakeholders has consulted widely and prepared the following programme of activities and events.
QUINSSA Dinner, 29th July 2016
The annual supporters’ club dinner will take place at The Stoop on Friday 29th July 2016.
Members Pre-Season Event and Pre-Season Friendly, Saturday 20th August
A one day event will take place on Saturday 20th August. Glasgow Warriors, the current Pro 12 champions, will provide the opposition for the friendly match which will be preceded by a Veterans Match featuring a President’s XV v a Jason Leonard XV.
HOPA Lunch, Friday 4th November 2016
Harlequins Old Players Association (HOPA) will hold its annual lunch at the RAC Club on Friday 4th November 2016.
Special 150th Challenge Match, Wednesday 16th November 2016
Harlequins will host the Maori All Blacks touring team in a special challenge match at The Stoop on Wednesday 16th November. The last time both teams played each other was in 1926.
Big Game 9, Tuesday 27th December 2016
The annual highlight of the festive season will take place at Twickenham Stadium on 27th December.
150th Anniversary Golf Day, Wednesday 26th April 2017
A special golf day will be held at Royal Wimbledon GC.
150th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, Tuesday 16th May 2017
A highlight of the programme, this formal dinner will be held at the Dorchester Hotel.
150th Anniversary Local Community Event, May or June 2017
A special local community 150th Anniversary event to be held at The Stoop is under discussion.
An official 150th logo has been designed in association with adidas.
150th Anniversary Shirt
An exclusive “retro” home shirt has been designed in conjunction with adidas.
150th Anniversary Book
A fully illustrated, coffee table style, club history book has been commissioned. The book will be published in September 2016. An invitation to supporters to be included in the “List of Subscribers” has been issued and closes later this month.
150th Anniversary Documentary
A 45 minute documentary tracing the history of the Club is in hand. Presented by Ugo Monye, the documentary is a joint production with BT Sport.
150th Related Retail Merchandise
A select range of merchandise will be available in addition to the replica versions of the shirt and related adidas merchandise.
The Club’s eight overseas affiliate clubs will be involved in the celebrations.
Harlequins Amateurs – Mini Rugby Tournament
The Amateur Club plans to host a special 150th Anniversary Mini-Rugby Festival on 30th April 2017.
Community and Schools Events
There will be a programme of community and schools events, details to follow.
Women’s and Girls’ Rugby
There will be a programme of activity to encourage women’s and girls’ rugby. This will be undertaken by the Harlequins Foundation in association with Harlequin Ladies.
Further details of individual activities and events will be announced over coming months.
Harlequins recently launched its first corporate mini-bond, paying 5.5% for five years. Harlequins is aiming to raise £7.5 million to invest in the Club, its playing department, improving playing facilities further to develop, retain and attract the best players in the world. for more information visit www.harlequinsbond.com