By Aidan Swain
Held at Durham City Rugby Football Club, Wednesday 10th October sees the return of DURFC’s annual charity rugby match. This year the men in palatinate will be taking on Exeter to raise money for a children’s charity in Zambia called Fountain of Hope, which is associated with Sport in Action Zambia.
In fact, the game itself is in support of one of the biggest street children’s projects in the country’s capital, Lusaka.
Fountain of Hope finds a safe haven from life on the streets for destitute and impoverished children. The charity currently has 78 resident males and 38 resident females.
Some present residents, aged anywhere from five to twenty, have been there for over fifteen years. Alongside residents, Fountain also has over 200 daily visitors from the streets and local compounds. They go to school at Fountain, which is a non-government school. Moreover, thanks to the project they are able to play sport every day.
All contributions raised from the proceeds of the charity match will help the running of Fountain of Hope’s operations in numerous ways. Over 500 meals every day of the year are provided for children and staff. The water tank, after its collapse five years ago, must be maintained to ensure the water system, with all its pumps and moving parts, is operational.
Sports equipment is given to the children to play netball, basketball, and football, including the current resurfacing of the combined netball and basketball court.
After paying your £3 on the door you will be able to watch the finest rugby Durham university has to offer, as they hope to send a weary, travelled Exeter side back on their long journey home empty-handed.
Joining the ranks of the Durham 1st XV come a smattering of fresh faces from across the country and the world. Josh Basham, a strong and defensively solid back rower hailing from Wellington School, has been capped by both London Irish and England U20s.
Charlie Spawforth, a quick and inventive fly-half from Tonbridge School, is presently involved in the England Sevens setup.
Marijn Huis, a clever and mobile lock from the Netherlands, joins the side after a stint for Tauranga Sports Club in New Zealand. He has played for his country at U20s level and is associated with the NTC, the Netherlands national academy.
Stellar additions such as these three have bolstered a squad of senior players who have already improved significantly since the disappointment of last season. The match against Exeter will be the first big test of this strengthened line-up, so expect some differences to the match last year.
The money raised by Durham students from charity events such as these makes a real difference to the lives of so many, and children from Fountain of Hope have turned their fortunes around to make real successes of themselves. If you want an evening of top-class sport whilst doing your bit to help those less fortunate than ourselves, you know where to go.
Photograph: BUCS Super Rugby