MORE than £10,000 has been raised for Cirencester Rugby Club after an unwelcome visit by travellers left the club with thousands of pounds of costs.
Cirencester Rugby Club reached its fundraising target in just nine days, with the funds going towards tightened security and legal fees for the travellers removal.
Having coped with the challenges of Covid-19 and just back at training, Cirencester Rugby Club faced another lockdown in April after 26 traveller caravans arrived on two of the pitches and forced the cancellation of the minis and juniors Sunday morning session, and the closure of the clubhouse once more.
Eager to reopen on Saturday, April 17, there was a touch competition in the sunshine with the U16s and seniors, the outside marquee welcomed members back for hospitality and the till was ringing, before their pitches became unusable.
Travellers occupied the pitches for a number of days before an eviction notice was issued, leading to their removal on Wednesday, April 21.
Club chairman Dave Reeves revealed the club and the local community rallied around to help clear up and used JustGiving, social media and a GMS membership mailshot to help raise money for legal fees for their removal.
“It was a monumental week. We had over £4,000 in crowdfunding within 24 hours and 30 to 40 people turning up over two days to help with the clear up, as well as a specialist team from Cotswold District Council,” he said.
“What was so amazing was the support of the wider community, local residents and businesses helping both physically and financially.
“We are hoping to put ourselves back to square one but anything extra will be spent on additional barriers to stop this happening again.
“I would really like to thank the executive committee team who have all helped at the club.”
The swift response meant the the club bar was once again able to open across the weekend, while club members could return to training.
Cathryn Hage, Cirencester Rugby vice chair said: “Since we launched our crowdfunding campaign a week ago, we are thrilled to reach our £10,000 target in this very short space of time and it shows the passion and the care.
“Many families and parents were so pleased we could clean up, bounce back and re-open last Sunday for M&Y training and the pleasure the rugby cub brings their children.
“With over 200 donations from players & members, local residents, the Cirencester Male Voice Choir, Cricket Club, Cirencester Hockey and Lacrosse teams, members of the community and local businesses – to name just a few – we are so very grateful and proud.
“Both the RFU and GRFU also broadcast our appeal to the rugby community which helped enormously.
“Now we can pay the bailiffs bill and look to put finance towards a height barrier and other security measures to keep the Whiteway safe.
“We are open for rugby and hospitality and looking forward to showcasing our fantastic facilities to all.”
The club, which is in the town, has been offering other sports use of their facilities and have welcomed hockey, lacrosse, netball, taekwondo and boxing.
Mr Reeves added: “Seeing everyone pulling together, the wide range of people willing to help was fantastic and something really positive coming out of a massive negative.”