The Longlevens Festival 2019, raising funds for Wooden Spoon and sponsored by Dee & Griffin Solicitors, was the most successful yet. With over 1,000 people attending at Longlevens RFC to enjoy the festival and the sunshine, the 4th annual event of its kind was the biggest hit to date. This was due to making the Mixed Ability Rugby Festival central to the day’s events. Mixed Ability Rugby (MAR) utilises playing bins in a unique way so that contact and touch rugby work seamlessly together in a game of 15 a side Rugby Union. The day saw the established Longlevens RFC MAR Team take on the Wooden Spoon’s Invitational Team featuring a host of local rugby legends including the Gloucestershire Chairman Rob York.
MAR allows anyone to play Rugby Union regardless of mental or physical disability or the perception of ‘’not being good enough’’. The invitational side represented a wonderful opportunity to showcase the game to a new audience to help dispel a lot of assumptions. The match was closely fought with Longlevens RFC coming away as the victors.
Chairman of Wooden Spoon Gloucestershire region Rob York said: ‘‘It was an absolute joy to pull on the boots after many years and make my mixed ability debut. The passion and love for the game really comes through from the boys and frankly I was surprised by the standard and energy illustrated in the match. I’m blowing!’’
Chairman of Longlevens RFC Chris Yorke said: ‘‘MAR and Wooden Spoon are very close to our hearts so it was the perfect opportunity to combine our efforts for a wonderful afternoon. There is a huge disabled community that loves rugby in Gloucestershire, so we are really pleased to showcase this event to show off their skills.’
Managing Partner of Dee & Griffin Solicitors Julian Jenkins said: ‘‘Today was the perfect showcase of mixed ability sport and we are so proud to support it. Well done to Rich Steward and all those that helped make it happen.’’
Following the rugby there were live bands throughout the afternoon, food stalls, and locally sourced cider and gin stalls that were enjoyed in the sun.