Harrogate Pythons RUFC welcomed Lawrence Dallaglio OBE as their key note speaker for their Annual Dinner. Held at a new venue, The Old Swan, Lawrence and MC John Bentley entertained 350 guests raising £13k for the club.
The guests included regular main sponsors Don Electric, The Spirit of Harrogate, Ripon Select Foods and HSBC, with new main sponsors Oracle Finance Limited, Harrogate Steel and Hearing Solutions UK who were all acknowledged in the speeches. “It’s our main sponsors that mean we can secure fantastic speakers like Lawrence”, said Julian Tatlow organiser and Chairman. “I’m always amazed and grateful for the generosity shown by Dave Wheat, Marcus Black, Tom Wood and Nikki Keith. This year our new sponsors have been brilliant too including Peter Brook from Oracle Finance who took 2 tables, used banner displays and had a Ferrari and Porsche parked outside the hotel. They’re based in Knaresborough and have already expressed an interest in further support for The Pythons.”, he added.
The evening was MC’d by John ‘Bentos’ Bentley who captivated and amused the guests as he ran through the stages of the dinner. Heads and Tails and the raffle were very well supported by the guests. Centre stage of the fund raising was the auction raising £6.7k on the night.
Lawrence had done his homework on The Pythons and was familiar with the recent form shown by both teams.. He acknowledged the commitment of Dan Bird’s men and led a round of applause for the players. He shared his thoughts and feelings on his international career and recounted the early training camp meetings with last year’s speaker Jason Leonard – needless to say those meetings confirmed Jason’s nick name ‘Fun Bus’ and set the standard for future tours for the young Lawrence. The success of the 2003 World Cup featured as the whole room thought. The discussions on the field, the thoughts and emotions before extra time, the feeling when the drop goal went over all held the packed room in silence.
“What an absolute gentleman Lawrence is. Nothing was too much trouble whether it was official sponsor photos, programme signing or selfies”, said Paul Day President. ”Thanks to Peter Kitson from Hearing Solutions and Richard Searle from Harrogate Steel and of course Matthew Powell for buying every table in the room a bottle of Port,” he concluded.
Chairman’s Table gusts included Rhys Howell from The Advertiser, Mick Edwards Chairman Harrogate Railway FC, David Straker owner William & Victoria’s, Alec Porter RFU and Dr Terry Crystal former England Rugby Doctor.
Updated 14:02 - 19 Oct 2018 by Neil Summersall