12 months ago, Rebekah Elsdon had never picked up a rugby ball.
She was an enthusiastic 14 year old that enjoyed being active, but sadly like many young girls, she thought rugby was not for her.
It was the work of Project Rugby, and our Foundation Development Officer James Collins-Clark, that changed all of this for Rebekah.
Project Rugby was delivered at Rebekah’s school, Kingsley Academy, and with every session she grew in confidence and ability.
Come rain or shine, Rebekah would be the first one out on the pitch, and the last to leave.
She gave everything she had to her new found passion and not content with just playing rugby at school, Rebekah soon came along to one of our Rugby HUB sessions at her local club, Grasshoppers RFC, where she once again excelled, soon becoming a full member of the club and playing regularly for them.
Rebekah’s progress has continued at a staggering rate, becoming an integral member of the playing squad at Grasshoppers that won the Middlesex Cup.
Her success has not gone unnoticed, and Rebekah is not part of the Middlesex County squad, and will continue to push for recognition when rugby returns.
Leroy Bouine, Rebekah’s coach at Grasshoppers and Middlesex, said: “It is not easy to bring girls into sport, especially rugby and the work of The Harlequins Foundation across local schools generates a real interest in the sport and the values of rugby and the partnership strengthens when you bring the players to Grasshoppers and they see first-hand what club rugby is about .
“Rebekah is an integral member of the U15 Grasshopper team, she has worked hard to improve her fitness and skill set, she gets to training early and works hard throughout, she is a good communicator and often can be seen giving positive feedback to her team mates.”
Mandy Elsdon, Rebekah’s mum, said: “Rebekah is a very fun outgoing girl with real drive to challenge herself and excel in everything she does, even if this means it out of her comfort zone. When Project Rugby came into her school I remember her saying to me ‘I don’t know if I like it’, she had tried her hand at many sports but never stuck to any of them.
“Until Project Rugby came along, Rebekah found herself enjoying rugby and the challenges she face learning this new sport, she has done this with encouragement from myself, The Harlequins Foundation and the PE teachers at Kingsley Academy.
“Rebekah has found real love and respect for the sport of Rugby and is proud of her achievements. Project Rugby has really given my daughter the best opportunity to become the best she can be.
“Rebekah is a big success story for The Harlequins Foundation and maybe the next big female rugby star!”
It is only with the help of you, our supporters, that Project Rugby can help inspire young people like Rebekah to take up a new sport, and discover a new talent.
That’s why we’re asking for your donations, so that we can help make Rebekah’s story the norm, not the exception.
Times are hard for everyone at the moment, but whatever money you can spare will help us give many more young people the opportunities Rebekah has had.
Together we can make a difference, together we can Build Brighter Futures.