Artist donates skills to youth rugby group
A talented young Bermudian has donated her artistic skills to a group helping at-risk youth.
Art teacher Robyn Hooper, 29, was keen to show her support for the Beyond Rugby programme after learning about its work through coach Patrick Calow.
She made her mark on the scheme — and put a smile on the young participants’ faces — by transforming old containers they use to store equipment.
Ms Hooper, who teaches at Somerset Primary and Dalton E. Tucker Primary, gave the units fresh coats of paint and added the programme’s logo — a hefty task that took about ten hours.
“I worked for a few hours each day during the summer,” she said. “I would start at 7am before the day got too hot. One day during a session it started to rain. I thought at first I could wait it out under the trees but the rain just got harder and kept washing away the paint.
“I got involved with Beyond Rugby because of Patrick — his enthusiasm for the programme is infectious and I wanted to help out in any way I could.”
The revamped containers are now housed at Police Field, where the children train, which has also been given a new lease of life thanks to a team of volunteers who assisted with hefty landscaping work.
Beyond Rugby works with students from Dellwood Middle School, CedarBridge Academy and the Berkeley Institute. It includes a homework academy, run with Family Centre, to help them to improve their grades.
The programme, launched by former World Wrestling Entertainment champion turned TV commentator John “JBL” Layfield, was presented in the summer with a Fair Play Award from the North American Caribbean Rugby Association.
Residents are urged to show their support for Beyond Rugby and youth rugby on the Island this Saturday by attending a special fundraising screening of the Rugby World Cup final at Pier 6.
Mr Layfield said: “We have worked hard to create a really cool environment to watch the Rugby World Cup final so that the community can come together, have a good time and raise some money to grow rugby on our Island home.
“Our effort for providing at-risk kids options to do things other than be in gangs and drop out of school centre around sport, and this fundraiser is important to us to both celebrate the rugby community and also raise money for the men’s team for field rentals, our high school teams and our under-19s, so that we have opportunities for our young men and women in sport.
“One hundred per cent of the proceeds go to promote rugby on the Island from youth to adult teams.”
Gareth Nokes, a co-organiser of the screening and long-term volunteer with youth rugby, added: “We are delighted to host the Rugby World Cup final at Pier 6. It promises to be a wonderful atmosphere and a great venue to watch the two best teams in world rugby go head-to-head for the title.
“Bermuda Rugby is growing in popularity underlined by a strong set of core values, which is at the heart of the sport.
“Our U19 and U16 national squads are now almost exclusively made up of Bermudians. We are having great success in middle and high schools with the establishment of the Digicel and Ariel Re leagues respectively and the continued success of the Beyond Rugby programme, which expanded into Berkeley this season.
“However, the sport is entirely self-funding — all proceeds come from the generosity of our corporate partners and fundraising initiatives.
“Events such as this are therefore vital as we continue to grow the sport and give our youngsters opportunities to develop their skills and transition into a successful and competitive senior league programme.”
The Rugby World Cup final kicks off at 1pm on Saturday but doors open at 10am and close at 5pm. Barbecue food is available for purchase and tickets, costing $20, include a free drink.
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