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Minister for Sport inspired by Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards

Minister for Sport inspired by Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch was full of praise as five inspiring individuals were honoured at the glittering Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards at the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Every year, hundreds of people up and down the country give their time to help run Premiership Rugby initiatives such as – but not limited to – Aviva Tackling Numbers, HITZ, Project Rugby and Move Like A Pro.

And following a tough judging process, 13 were shortlisted for four prizes and travelled to London to rub shoulders with the great and the good of English rugby, such as Olympic silver medallist Marcus Watson and Harlequins’ Dave Ward.

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch and Paul Farrelly MP, Newcastle Under Lyme, and Vice Chair of the All Party Rugby Union Group, were also present as four winners were chosen to join these names on stage to collect their prizes.

Tracey Crouch said: “Sports like rugby have a unique power to improve lives. These inspirational players, volunteers and coaches show how sport teaches important skills, boosts mental and physical health, and brings people together. I am delighted they have been recognised for their work.”

Winners of the 2018 Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards:

  • PLAY Achiever Award supported by Premiership Rugby – Seth Mensah (Harlequins) and Kerry Simons (Worcester Warriors)
  • Breakthru Achiever Award supported by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Rugby Union – Michael Corney (Wasps)
  • Community Volunteer of the Year Award supported by EdComms – Daisy Hibbert-Jones (Sale Sharks)
  • Community Coach of the Year Award supported by Ricoh – Jack Seneschall (Harlequins)

Paul Farrelly MP said: “In the All Party Rugby Union Group, we know rugby can inspire positive change.  It is a pleasure, therefore, for us to host these Awards. I applaud the volunteers, coaches, clubs, charities and players who make these projects happen and look forward to seeing the work continue over the coming years.”

The first award of the afternoon was the PLAY Achiever Award – supported by Premiership Rugby –  and the judging panel were unable to separate Seth Mensah and Kerry Simons from Harlequins and Worcester Warriors respectively, meaning they were joint winners of the gong.

George Lambert of Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks’ Henry Hibbert-Jones were also shortlisted, but Seth and Kerry were chosen for the award, which recognises participants who have excelled in any education, health or social inclusion programme.

Wasps’ Michael Corney claimed the Breakthru Award, supported by the All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group, for achieving and sustaining high weight loss from participating in Move Like a Pro.

“With the UK facing an obesity crisis because of poor diet and inactivity, it is a great pleasure to see how Michael and the thousands of others who have taken part in Move Like A Pro have managed not just to lose weight but to do so sustainably,” added Paul Farrelly MP.

Tom Clifford of Bath Rugby and Newcastle Falcons’ John Mew were the other shortlisted candidates, but Michael edged them out thanks to his efforts on Premiership Rugby’s Move Like A Pro programme to collect his award from Wasps flyer Watson.

“Michael Corney was our winner and not only for the fantastic weight loss but the fact that he had made a complete lifestyle change and was now supporting his sons rugby team,” said Greggs Foundation Manager Tracy Lynch who was on the judging panel.

“He has also gained more confidence and is organising events for others that have been involved on the Move Like A Pro programme.”

Sale Sharks’ Daisy Hibbert-Jones was crowned the Community Volunteer of the Year, supported by EdComms, thanks to her outstanding contribution to Walking Rugby, Girls Rugby, Disability Rugby and the club’s autism-specific programme Play On.

Just a teenager, Daisy was inspired to get involved with the Sale Sharks Community Trust in September 2017 after her brother, who has autism, joined a mixed ability team that the Trust was supporting, and she has gone from strength-to-strength since and was chosen for the award ahead of Edward Wade at Saracens and Worcester Warriors’ Julian Lund.

And the afternoon was rounded out as Jack Seneschall scooped the Community Coach of the Year Award, supported by Ricoh, thanks to his efforts managing Project Rugby at Worcester Warriors.

Sale Sharks’ Jack Leech and Jordan Young of Wasps were also shortlisted, but Jack Seneschall was commended for creating several new school rugby teams, specifically working with year groups that schools and teachers had refused or stopped coaching rugby to.

Ellie Sheppard, partnership manager for Comic Relief and a member of the judging panel, said: “Jack Seneschall has had a real impact with those who haven’t traditionally played rugby.

“We were particularly impressed with Project XV and the link created with Streatham-Croydon RFC which has led to 14 young people transitioning to club rugby.”

To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, please visit premiershiprugby.com/in-the-community or join the conversation #RugbyChangingLives

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