Rugby ace aids trips bid

AKS hockey player Rebecca Pearson, ex-England rugby coach Brian Ashton and AKS rugby player Alistair Harper at the sports luncheon.
AKS hockey player Rebecca Pearson, ex-England rugby coach Brian Ashton and AKS rugby player Alistair Harper at the sports luncheon.
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Ex-England rugby coach Brian Ashton gave a rousing talk about success in sport at a fund-raiser for a school sports tour.

The former Fylde Rugby Club player talked at the sports luncheon to raise cash for hockey and rugby teams from AKS Lytham and Blackpool to travel abroad to compete in their sports.

The teenagers have set a target of raising £45,000 towards funding the 2014 trip, and with the help of Mr Ashton they are now more than £10,000 closer to the target.

The sports star was joined by compere and entertainer Lionel Vinyl, who encouraged generous donations in the auction from those attending the event.

Event organiser Andrea De Miranda said: “Brian Ashton gave a good talk about his sporting career and experiences and linked it all back to the benefits you get from going on tour. Lionel Vinyl really did the part getting people to bid in the auction.”

Players from the sports teams also gave a short talk at the event, held at The Grand Hotel in St Annes.

A group of 30 hockey players, aged between 15 and 17, will be travelling to Singapore, Australia and Fiji on their tour in July 2014.

And 36 boys, aged between 14 and 17, will fly out to South Africa that same month for their rugby tour.

Hockey player Hannah Denison, 15, said: “The afternoon was very good and successful.

“It’s amazing to have raised so much, to have this opportunity and people helping us out is amazing and overwhelming.

“Sports tour is something I’ve always wanted to be part of it, it will be my highlight.”

Event organiser Heidi Kenworthy said: “We’re so impressed with how the afternoon went, the support we saw was really quite mindblowing.

“This is a fantastic, once in a lifetime, opportunity for the pupils, enabling them to embrace different cultures while playing sport on the other side of the world.”

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