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Revitalising rugby

342. Simon Cartmell

Simon Cartmell, 55, had a vision to rejuvenate the club and its facility and make Teddington RFC a true community club, much in the same way that rural sports clubs are a hub of their communities.

After a period of success in the 1970s, Teddington Rugby Club entered a long period of decline and with a decaying clubhouse, by the late 1990’s, its popularity and contribution to the Teddington community and even its survival was seriously threatened. 

As Youth Chairman, Simon oversaw the growth of the Mini rugby section from 60 to 500 players, developed a Junior rugby section of 10 age groups sides and introduced girls rugby to the club. He took six months off work and worked tirelessly to raise £430,000 to renovate the clubhouse and has dedicated over 18,000 hours of his own time to realising his vision.

As well as giving the club a new lease of life, culminating in being named the Rugby World European Team of the Year in 2010, Simon has dedicated himself to spreading the word throughout the Teddington community. He personally visits more than 25 school fairs every year to recruit new people, has coached Mini and Junior teams, is a qualified referee for the club and has raised £50,000 from sponsors to do in-school training in more than 20 schools in Richmond and Kingston. Through all of his work and his fundraising, Simon has helped spread the traditional values of rugby – teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship – amongst the young people of his local community and ignite their passion for his sport. .

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Simon has transformed rugby for young people in Teddington.  Thanks to his tireless effort and determination hundreds of young people are now able to benefit from the community spirit and values that rugby can teach in fantastic new facilities.  I am pleased to be able to recognise his service with the UK’s 24nd Points of Light award.”

As well as spearheading the club’s fundraising efforts, Simon has given £50,000 of his own money to the club and has successfully applied for £241,000 in grants. Corporate sponsorship negotiated by Simon has raised an additional £40,000.

Simon said:

I am humbled to receive this award. Rugby is the ultimate team sport and this award is recognition of all the hundreds of people over the last 20 years who have helped make Teddington Rugby the success it is today. As a true community club, where friendships flourish, I am delighted that we have been recognised in this way as the Rugby World Cup starts this week.  

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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