An important part of their local community, both as a usually busy rugby club and now a vaccination centre, like most clubs Manchester RFC has really has suffered during the past year.
Add to the loss of income, and the fact that any reserves have been almost entirely used up, a roof in a serious state of disrepair and the need to raise funds is clear.
The whole club is keen to help but one group is really going the extra mile, or 340: the Manchester U6 and U7 Minis.
They were virtually walking or running from their clubhouse in Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme, to Twickenham Stadium. In one week they had covered a combined 144 miles, exceeded their £2,500 target and then, having completed the distance to Twickenham, decided to cover the 170 miles back to the club.
Their commitment to the club and to rugby brought praise from the England camp where England and Sale Sharks’ Tom Curry said: “I’m massively impressed by Manchester’s Under 6 and 7s, what a great effort to help their club and their community. It’s amazing to see all the work that the whole rugby family is putting in to help during the pandemic.”
Said Manchester mini player Robyn: “I miss rugby very much. I like helping the club and seeing pictures of my team because I can’t be with them. I’ve done 5ks, 3ks and 2ks. It makes me feel strong, it’s fun and we’re raising lots of money.’”
Team mate Max added: “I miss playing rugby with my coaches and all of my friends. I’m doing the sponsored walk and sponsored run to get a new roof for my rugby club because it’s very old. I am looking forward to going back to rugby so we can get muddy again!”
Andy Chadbourne and his fellow coach Dan Hiley agree: “Raising money for the club is hugely important to us at the moment, but the welfare of our teams equally so. This challenge has brought us all together and demonstrated what a fantastic community the sport of rugby creates. We could not be prouder of our players, their parents and our fellow coaches.”