The Richmond Heavies are the veteran’s side of Richmond Football Club, one of the leading community rugby clubs in the UK.
The Richmond Heavies Foundation was borne out of the unconnected premature deaths of three amazing guys closely connected to the Heavies within six weeks of each other in 2018.
Stephen Fairn, Ian Williams and Stewart Barlow were dedicated and talented rugby players. Stephen died aged 51 of a heart attack, Ian Williams, aged 27, whilst at training and Stewart, aged 43. The close friendships formed whilst playing together has left a lasting legacy, which is this Foundation.
As a group of Richmond Heavies, we want to enhance the wellbeing of all our players, coaches, staff and their families within this community rugby club through both seeking to avoid future preventable tragedies as well as being able to help those immediately affected by life-changing injuries or death.
The Richmond Heavies Foundation seeks to fulfil this purpose through our PROTECT and SUPPORT missions.
Our mission is to:
extend lives and prevent avoidable early deaths by facilitating cardiac screening
provide access to confidential mental health services
increase health awareness – physical, mental and emotional – through education programmes and campaigns
provide (or assist) all community rugby clubs in England with a working defibrillator
Every week, at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young (aged 35 and under) people in the UK die from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. In 80% of cases, there will have been no signs or symptoms, which is why proactive cardiac screening is so vitally important. Sport itself does not cause young sudden cardiac death but it can exacerbate an underlying condition, if not identified.
One in four adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK. Most young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment and it can take a decade to receive help after showing first symptoms. Opportunities to help are often missed until they reach “crisis” resulting in suicides being the leading cause of death in young adults, especially men.
Good health is the foundation of a happy life, happy families and thriving communities. We view health as our most precious asset, and not just a problem to fix when it goes wrong. Screening programmes and health checks, have long been used to identify those at risk of or already living with health problems. By preventing conditions – or detecting them at more treatable stages – it’s possible to save lives and improve outcomes.
With over 1,000 community rugby clubs in England, our goal is that no club should be without a working defibrillator due to lack of funds. Our Defibrillator Fund has been set up to provide defibrillators to community rugby clubs who cannot afford this life-saving device.
Our mission is to:
assist families affected by sudden death or life-changing injury
encourage participation in rugby in our community through the provision of membership bursaries
The impact of any tragic loss is felt widely by loved ones. We assist families of the Richmond Rugby community affected by sudden death or life-changing injury through provision of grants, access to counselling and ongoing support to meet their needs.
Working with our own Community Department, the Foundation encourages increased participation in rugby through the provision of membership bursaries.
The Richmond Heavies Foundation is a self-funded charitable arm of Richmond Rugby Club. We are governed as part of the rugby charity, The Atlas Foundation (registered charity no: 1161179). If you would like to help us in the work we do please click here.
Neil Darke, Richard Holman, Ian Grundy, Jim Kottler Founder Trustees
“The foundation is committed to a long term programme of screening for all players and members of Richmond over the age of 14”
“This opportunity is one of a kind really, the fact that players don’t have to pay for it is invaluable”
Richmond Women’s Chair
“Richmond are going to lead the way on this, hopefully other clubs will follow”
“As rugby players we are meant to be big strong and nothing really hurts us, but mental health effects everyone”
Kirsty Lee Griffith
Richmond Women’s Player
“There are many reasons to support the foundation, not only are you helping to save lives but you're making it a safer and better place to play”
“without screening you just never know, its very important, its brilliant work what the Richmond Heavies are doing, I’m glad to be part of it”
“it’s a magnificent club and the foundation is a wonderful testament to the way Richmond behaves, it’s fantastic and I’m very proud”
Richmond Heavies Player
“makes me feel valued, makes me feel that I’m loved and welcomed at the club”
Richmond Men’s Player
“it is a blueprint, not just for clubs but communities”
England Rugby Player
“mental health is an area which is so missed and not appreciated how much it is needed in this environment, its amazing what they are doing here”
England Rugby Player
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