Long Eaton Rugby has chosen Nottingham based charity, Forever Stars, as its charity of the 2018/19 season.
The club, which has over 500 members and is based at West Park, dedicates its fundraising efforts to a charity chosen by its members every rugby season. Forever Stars, which supports families who have suffered a stillbirth or infant loss, was selected by Laura & Daniel Barnett - members of the club whose son, Harrison, was stillborn in August 2016. The charity supported Laura and Daniel through this devastating time and the couple have since worked tirelessly to raise vital funds for the cause in Harrison's name.
Throughout the upcoming season, Long Eaton Rugby will be running a series of Forever Stars fundraising events to raise as much as possible to support families such as the Barnetts, through cake sales, quiz nights and live music events. The club also plans to raise further funds and awareness through their own social media channels.
Ruth Gooch, Laura's friend and fellow club member, said: "Forever Stars is an incredible charity that does amazing work across our community, which I have seen first-hand. Laura and Daniel's loss has been heart-breaking, but the support of Forever Stars is unwavering and has been so valuable to them over the last two years.
"We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline to raise as much money as possible for this great charity and we can't wait to get started! Thank you to all of our members and our local Long Eaton community for supporting Forever Stars this year."
Long Eaton Rugby hosted a charity party for Forever Stars in June as part of a huge fundraising day put on by 80 of the Barnett's family and Friends, including Ruth. The team raised £14,500 by undertaking a gruelling Warrior Assault course at Holme Pierpont followed by a raffle and special party at the rugby club. The club hopes to continue this incredible effort by raising even more for the charity over the 2018/19 season.
Laura Barnett said: "Daniel and I are delighted that LERFC has chosen to support Forever Starts. Forever Stars is a wonderful charity set up in memory of Emily Daniels who was born sleeping. Initially they raised money to fund for the Bereavement Suite at QMC. We sadly had to use the Bereavement Suite for our own son, Harrison, who was born sleeping in August 2016. Since then we have helped to raise money for more of their ventures, the next big thing being the memorial garden at Highfields. Baby loss affects so many more families than we realise and trying to do something positive on the background of such tragedy has helped us along the way."
Jo Sharp, Operations Manager at Forever Stars said: "Forever Stars are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as LERFC charity of the year and are hugely excited to get involved in their upcoming events. The difference that this partnership will make to the charity, and the services that it can provide, will be significant. For that we are very grateful."
Last season, Long Eaton Rugby chose to support Different Strokes, a charity which supports young stroke survivors, after a member suffered a stroke at the age of just 48. The club proudly presented the charity with over £1,100 at the end of the 2017/18 season and aim to build on this fundraising success by raising even more in aid of Forever Stars this year.
Updated 08:19 - 6 Sep 2018 by Chris Brookes