A £200,000 fundraising campaign has been launched to help Newark Rugby Club build a new clubhouse in time for its 100th anniversary.
The head of the fundraising team, Mr Alan Swain (left) with Tom Ryder and John Wells. (060414SF4-1)
The club, at Kelham Road, launched its fundraising on Sunday with support from three former players who went on to play at the highest level.
Former England full-back Dusty Hare, Leicester Tigers back-row John Wells, and current Glasgow lock Tom Ryder attended to help raise awareness for the cause.
The day featured matches involving the club’s promising youth teams.
The club aims to raise at least £200,000 by the end of 2015, after which it hopes to receive further support from Sport England and the Rugby Football Union towards the £1.2m clubhouse rebuild.
Newark Rugby Club celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019.
The clubhouse has been in use since 1964.
The planned rebuild will include eight changing rooms. The stand will be retained and it will also provide viewing for the back pitch and improve access for disabled people.
It will double the capacity for social events.
Mr Alan Swain, head of the fundraising team, said: “We hope to have the new clubhouse finished a year before our 100th anniversary.
“There are three elements to the fundraising. We have around 1,000 members and we want each one involved in some way, whether they raise £5, £50, or £5,000.
“We will be giving club wristbands, pins and badges, and ties and scarves to people who can raise £25, £100, and £250 or more. Hopefully our members can raise £50,000 in this way.
“We are introducing a donate-a-brick scheme where members can buy a brick for a minimum £50 which will have their name on and be used in the new foyer.
“We have 2,000 to sell so hope to raise £100,000 that way.
“The third element is a corporate package for businesses that can include non-playing club membership, tickets for Six Nations or other international games, advertising in our programme or pitch-side and more. We hope that can raise £50,000, which would take us to £200,000.”
Fundraising events include a dinner and dance night and a possible cycle ride from Twickenham to Newark.
Tom Ryder, who played for Newark from the age of eight to 16, said: “Newark gave me my first introduction to rugby. It’s a great club with good facilities that hopefully will get even better when the rebuild is complete.
“I still have many friends here. If I can help out I’m more than happy to.”
John Wells, who played for the youth teams and had a season with the first team in 1981-82 before joining Leicester, said: “I’ve been associated with the club for 40 years and, although I’ve been all over the world and played for other teams, this is my home club.
“It’s always been close to my heart. It means a lot to me to be able to help.”
Newark is fifth in the Midlands 1 East and end their league season at home to Ilkeston on Saturday.