Despite their ability to strike fear into the hearts of their opposition as one of the most formidable university rugby forces in the country, DURFC have demonstrated their softer side by working alongside the 1820 Foundation, a North East charity who support the Armed Forces community and veterans from the area.
The club’s various teams have enjoyed another strong season in the BUCs Championships and the first XV have strung together an impressive cup run together, reaching the quarter finals of the BUCS Rugby Union Cup. The latest obstacle which the first XV must now overcome in their quest for silverware and the opportunity to play on the hallowed turf of Twickenham in the final in May is Bath University. This match promises to be a close contest and will be held on Wednesday 2nd March at Maiden Castle, where the team hope that huge crowds will come down to cheer them from the sidelines, propelling DURFC to a victory which would keep their cup dream on track.
However despite the sporting prizes on offer, DURFC have again demonstrated their charitable side by promoting the work of the 1820 Foundation. During the game on Wednesday, a bucket collection will be conducted in the crowd throughout the game with the aim to raise the maximum amount of money possible for this local charity. Additionally, Durham University and the 1820 Foundation actively encourage spectators to bring along any old items of clothing with them to the game, which will be sent to victims of the recent cyclone disaster in Fiji as part of the Fiji Cyclone Winston Appeal.
The 1820 Foundation operates as a not-for-profit charity organisation, which was established to support the Armed Forces community in the UK. The charity’s primary focus revolves around aiding ex-military personnel in making the often difficult transition back into civilian life, following their service. As part of this process, the charity often works with individuals who are dealing with issues of addiction, homelessness and criminal activity. Furthermore, the 1820 Foundation also works closely with children who have lost family members as a consequence of military service and also run North East England based community schemes. The charity has highlighted that the Armed Forces Community now represents 6.4% of the total population of the UK, thus emphasising the growing need to provide support for these people.
The CEO of the 1820 Foundation Arun Malhotra spoke about the DURFC’s latest charitable assistance in glowing terms. Malhotra told Palatinate Sport, “We are hugely indebted to everyone at Durham University Rugby Cub for accommodating the Foundation at such a key fixture. This event not only raises awareness around some of the key issues that North East Veterans face but more importantly, it is an excellent example of how tuned into local good causes students really are . We just hope that the first XV can carry on their magnificent form all the way to Twickenham.”
Newcastle Falcons attack coach and ex-Durham University student Dave Walder works as an ambassador for the 1820 Foundation. Reflecting upon the contribution of his former university, Walder said “It’s heart-warming to see my old university working alongside the charity, in helping to support veterans within the region. I just really hope the whole of the university comes out in force to support the event”.
Earlier in the academic year, DURFC played a fixture against Leeds Beckett University at the Racecourse stadium, in an event which was in aid of raising funds for the Project Zambia project. That particular event was an unmitigated success, in which there were impressive attendances and generated a substantial amount of money for the cause. Here’s hoping the spectators on Wednesday donate generously as they hopefully watch the Palatinates progress to the semi-finals.
Photograph: 1820 Foundation