**Dartford Rugby - CHAIR'S CORNER - Sophie Warren - December 2021**
Welcome to the (very late) December Chair’s corner. Once again, apologies for the delay – a mixture of taking a break during the festive period and a bout of Covid-19 amongst the ExCom means we are a bit later wrapping up our end of year news!
What a last few months of the year! We hope you have enjoyed the Rugby and the updates to our state-of-the-art facilities as much as we have!
We are now officially OPEN! It was great to welcome back Leader of the Council Jeremy Kite Deputy Leader Chris Shippam and Dartford Borough Councils lead for equalities Tom Oliver to the Club In December to unveil the long awaiting plague but also to show off our home. The council made a commitment over 5 years ago to do their best to help us get a home of our own so we were beyond proud to show them how their initial help had helped grow a vibrant, active and growing community facility where rugby is flourishing, from our 3 year old mini-monsters through to our Senior Vets team.
I am sure you are all too aware of the amount of changes that are occurring around the Lodge; our second LED-floodlit grass pitch is growing nicely for a Easter opening and we look forward to playing our first bit of Rugby on it next season. But that’s not all, in our commitment to be the best community space around we will be completing our exciting multi-use ‘Com-Space’ project including the ‘Valley Shack’ outside bar, ‘Valley Braai & Grill’ cooking area, ‘Valley Remembrance Garden’ & ‘Valley kids play zone’…. as well as creating our ‘Valley Hut’ for kitshop and admin teams… as well as developing the ‘Valley
Barn & Cardio Stables’ to extend our S&C offering.
Of course these spaces would not happen without our amazing sponsors and backers (thank you to each and every one of you) but also the Valley Special project team, all made up of super volunteers. This team were even working during the Christmas break to make sure we were all on schedule. HUGE thanks to Luke Stickings, Gavin Jones, Richard Leachman, Gavin Drummond, Johnny O’Connor, Tom McNamara and Ian Blake for consistently and constantly going above and beyond.
Those of you lucky enough to make Santa’s nice list would have seen his fantastic pit stop at the Lodge just before Christmas. Another fantastic event put on by our social team, led by Holly Mallie. A night of family fun, with children right at the heart of it. Thanks Social team, treasured memories all round. The Social team are busy brain storming for their next events so look out for the social calendar dropping in the next month or so. This is another team made up of volunteers and they are always looking for extra pairs of hands so if you have any time spare please do let us know – we wouldn’t be able to continue to create these days without volunteer support so please chat to Holly if you are interested in being part of the social dream team!
Decembers volunteer spotlight of the month is Mr Richard Leechman. Richard wears multiple ‘hats’ at the Club and is always on hand whenever you need an extra bit of help; if there is a ‘problem,’ he is the man you want around. From the often challenging task of sorting out Kit, to being a youth academy coach, regularly trustee first aider, a VEO guru, a member of the special projects team and most importantly a confidential sound board wherever its needed – this man is Red and Black through and through. Rich, you are sometimes superhuman and your help and continuous support to everyone at the club has not gone unnoticed, we know you sacrifice a lot to ensure you can be there wherever you can and the last few years your time has been invaluable. Thank you for everything you continue to do to make our home even better and thank you for always doing it with a smile on your face. You are at the heart of this club and hopefully your heart will continue to pump red and black for a very long time!!
Player of the Month
December’s player of the month is our very own Coach Shane. Coach Shane can be spotted on a Sunday morning teaching the U9s, training as part of the Senior Men’s squad, overseeing the S&C barn, posting on our Instagram page or stepping up whenever he is needed, including turning his hand to ref’ing a youth match. Shane has been part of this club for a very long time and embroiled into everything DVRFC. Shane, thanks for always being on hand and throwing yourself into what ever is needed from you. We truly value you across the Club, its players like you that help across all sections of the club that helps us cement our #oneclub ethos, so thank you for being you (even if you do wear shorts all year round!)
Onwards & upwards!!