Long Eaton Rugby has raised over £21,000 in aid of Nottingham baby and infant loss charity, Forever Stars.
The club, which pledged to support the organisation for the 2018/19 season, has broken all of its previous fundraising records through the hard work and dedication of its members and their families over the past 12 months. The grand total was presented to the charity at the club’s annual President’s Dinner in Long Eaton recently.
Forever Stars is one of the region’s leading charities which supports bereaved families of stillborn babies and neonatal baby loss. Through the generosity of volunteers and fundraisers, the charity provides services such as counselling for parents and siblings, family support and serenity suites, which allow families to spend precious time with their babies. The money raised by Long Eaton Rugby will make a significant contribution to the charity’s Forever in Bloom appeal, which aims to fund a Remembrance Garden at Highfields Park in Nottingham, where families can go to relax, remember and reflect upon their baby and their child loss journey in a beautiful environment.
Jo Sharp, Operations and Fundraising Manager at Forever Stars, commented on Long Eaton Rugby’s fundraising efforts. She said: “We were delighted to have been chosen as LERFC charity of the year. During the past year they have worked tirelessly to both fundraise for us, but also to raise the awareness of baby loss and the impact it has on families. They have raised over £21k during that time, which means we are one step nearer to achieving our Remembrance Garden.
“Forever Stars are delighted to have forged such a great relationship with LERFC and will always be truly grateful for their hard work, passion, dedication and support of us as a charity. They truly are very special people, working very hard to make a difference in their community and Forever Stars are lucky enough to now call them friends.”
Throughout the 2018/19 season, Long Eaton Rugby’s members and supporters have organised events such as the Nottingham Warrior Assault course, rugby boot cleaning, bake sales, book sales, live music nights, sweetie sales, raffles, a Christmas market and much more, all to raise as much as possible for Forever Stars.
Forever Stars was chosen as the LERFC Charity of the Year due to members’ links with Daniel and Laura Barnett from Long Eaton, who lost their son, Harrison, when he was stillborn in August 2016. The couple have since supported Forever Stars, alongside Long Eaton Rugby’s Charity Coordinator, Ruth Gooch, and have this year become trustees of the charity.
Laura said: “Long Eaton Rugby Club’s support has been incredible this season. When Our son Harrison was stillborn, we used the Serenity Suite at QMC Nottingham to spend some time with him and have a blessing ceremony there. Forever Stars raised the funds for that suite to be created and from then on, we realised supporting this charity could help us to move forward with our grief.
“Having grown up in Long Eaton and as social members of the rugby club, we were aware of how amazing it is for the local community, what great club spirit the members have and the values they promote, so allowing us to raise awareness and money with their backing has been a great honour.”
Ruth Gooch, Long Eaton’s Charity Coordinator, who facilitated the club’s fundraising efforts, said: “Supporting the local community is at the heart of everything we do at Long Eaton Rugby, so it is important for us to choose a charity each season which has a close link to our members and the local area. Forever Stars is an incredible charity which has been a big support to some of our members, so it was a no brainer to choose the organisation and try to raise as much as possible.
“We are so proud of all of our members, supporters and their families for fully investing in our events and projects throughout the year – we have been blown away by the amount we have been able to raise and can’t wait to see the money helping families across the East Midlands.”
Long Eaton Rugby caters for girls and boys from aged 4 up to seniors and vets. As well as its quality sporting facilities, including a gym and rugby pitches, the club regularly holds events such as comedy and music nights and family fun days for the local community. Long Eaton Rugby supports a different charity every season and will be announcing its chosen organisation for 2019/20 over the coming weeks.