Telford rugby pupils kick-off South American tour fundraising campaign

A fundraising campaign to support an ambitious rugby tour of South America in 2025 has been kicked off by pupils at a Telford school – with local businesses also able to get involved and see their branding displayed in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil!

Pupils at Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby Academy in Madeley, Telford, are working with teachers, parents and school governors to hit a target of £10,000 to fund the life-changing sporting trip to one of the Southern Hemisphere’s hotbeds of Rugby Union.

It means that for the next year or so, a squad of 26 players from Years 10 and 11 will be learning and implementing new business skills alongside their rugby training as they lead the efforts to turn a dream into reality.

Will Bennett, Abraham Darby Academy’s Head of Rugby, said the tour will be no ordinary trip and that the squad is far from an ordinary school rugby team.

He said:

“The idea of playing rugby within Shropshire a few years ago, never mind playing rugby in South America, was previously out of the question. But the school has since embraced the sport of rugby as a channel for good – using it to develop personal and team skills, provide discipline, inspire hard work and endeavour, and offer new horizons to show young people that there are genuine career and life opportunities when secondary education is finished.

“Rugby is being used as a vehicle to raise aspirations and academic results within the Academy. The success of our rugby teams is infectious and the players are fast becoming role models for other pupils.

“It promises to be an amazing trip, touring Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, but support is needed to help fund it, which is why the pupils and everyone else connected with the school has launched a £10,000 fundraising campaign – an essential effort to ensure the tour can go ahead.

“We are asking people to help by donating whatever they can and we are also hoping to attract the interest of local businesses who would be willing to support us. This sponsorship would see their branding on the tour team jersey logos.”

As well as playing rugby, the planned trip to South America will offer pupils other potentially life-changing opportunities such as the Iguazu Falls and Gaucho cowboy experiences on the plains of Argentina. They will also play four fixtures against top school rugby teams.

Mr Bennett added:

“This trip has huge potential to increase aspirations, expose young people to a different culture and widen their perspectives. A successful trip to South America in 2025 will change many young people’s lives. To help fund the trip in any way possible, you can contact me by emailing [email protected] or by calling 01952 386000.”

Abraham Darby Academy has a rich rugby past. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was a powerhouse in the local Telford area and competed against some of the best sides In the Midlands. With a change in leadership in the late 1990s the school moved away from a focus on rugby – but, 15 years later, it has gone full circle and now finds itself playing rugby to the highest standards once more.

In the past 10 years, the school has introduced a challenging rugby programme that sees all age groups training on a weekly basis, taking part in national and local competitions, as well as being the only state school in Shropshire to take part in Saturday rugby fixtures. The current year eight, nine and 10 teams are County Cup winners

Four young men who have shown great amounts of dedication at Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby, which have positively impacted upon their studies within the academy, have the 2025 South American rugby tour very much on their minds.

Ellis Bunn said:

“Since joining Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby I have gone from strength to strength winning County Cup and 7’s silverware with my teammates at school. We reached the semi-final of the National School’s Cup – a tournament that I would have never reached had it not been for the phenomenal level of coaching and a school that truly believes in us – we were the last remaining state school!

“This year I was named Player of the Year for Year 10 and earned my position in the school Team of the Year. It has been an incredible personal achievement and reflection on how Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby has nurtured me to become a better player and more importantly a better person.”

Joseph Lesubula said:

“I am still playing rugby at Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby, a dream that I never thought would come true. Rugby isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. The physical nature of rugby demands not just strength, but also discipline and resilience.

“Through this, I learned the value of hard work and perseverance. Each tackle, sprint, and scrimmage required me to dig deep and push me beyond my perceived limits. This resilience has been invaluable, helping me navigate challenges in both my academic and personal life with a tenacity I might not have otherwise developed.”

Callum Clifton said:

“Rugby has given me confidence on and off the pitch. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet new people from all around the country. The rugby tour next year to South America will be a fantastic experience for me and the lads. It will allow us as a team to showcase our skills and our strengths on an international level.

“We will get to meet new people from different countries and it will allow us to learn what rugby means to different cultures. The tour will be an experience of a lifetime and one that we will never forget.”

Owen Brinkworth said:

“I am South African and moved to the UK in 2019. I had never touched a rugby ball before I moved to the UK, having always played football – something that may seem unheard of being South African!

“During my time at Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby, I have won one county cup, the South Staffordshire Cup for Telford and got to the semi-final of the North Midlands Cup. This year I got to the final of the County Cup, reached the semi-final of the North Midlands Cup, played in the finals of the South Staffordshire Cup, and was very fortunate to make Team of the Year for Abraham Darby.”

Any businesses that would like to sponsor any of the individual players which would see their corporate logo on the player’s post-match shirt for just £250 should contact Will Bennet via email at: [email protected] or call 01952 386000. There will be sponsorship packages for all marketing budgets and anybody who would like to support any fundraising activities with the players should also get in touch.