A life changing experience
In July 2018, sixty-seven boys from years 7 and 8 set off on the tenth biennial rugby tour to South Africa.
Together with a number of staff, the boys ventured to South Africa and Swaziland to play some great rugby, develop their life skills and to visit and help at two African charities, The Goedgedacht Trust and SKRUM. The Tour was and still is non-selective, and open to all boys in Years 7 & 8. Please see below for a full 2018 tour report.
The experiences the boys have on tour shape their young lives, and the work undertaken with the charities gives them some real focus and a sense of achievement at the end of it. At the same time, tough physical challenges can be expected against fantastic opposition during their rugby fixtures.
The South Africa Tour fundraising committee comprising a combination of parents and staff organised numerous events in the run up to the 2018 tour all with the aim of being fun, appealing to the boys as well as the wider school community and, ultimately, helping meet the costs of the tour whilst raising significant amounts for the charities.
Please see below images from the 2018 tour.
67 boys! 17 days! These were fairly regular statements that were heard in the weeks leading up to the South Africa Tour. Not many people could believe a tour party of that size would be heading to South Africa, however, there were nine staff up for the challenge of giving the boys an experience that would live with them for a long time.
We left Heathrow in mid-July and mid-heatwave to arrive in Cape Town and the middle of the South African winter. Thankfully...we arrived to blue skies and sunshine which stayed with us for the majority of the trip. Our first week was spent exploring the sights and sounds of the Western Cape. Some of the highlights of that first week included:
The second week saw us fly north to Johannesburg which brought us even warmer weather and some fantastic new experiences. Some of the highlights of the second week included.
This is a very small snapshot of what was a fantastic tour that doesn’t perhaps give a full reflection of the memories that were made!
Another wonderful tour took place in July 2016, with the largest tour party of 55 boys and 7 staff. We were based around Cape Town for the first part of the tour, driving straight to Hermanus and going on an amazing whale watching trip on our first morning in South Africa. A truly wonderful start! We trained at the beautiful Rugby Performance Centre, before our first matches and enjoyed some brilliant rugby, incredible hospitality and we all made some new friends very quickly.
Our time at the Goedgedacht Trust was inspiring, humbling and life enriching. On top of this, it was also great fun!! A quick visit to Table Mountain allowed us a majestic overview of Cape Town, before visiting our new friends at Eversdal for our 4th match of the tour. Again, the rugby was a great success.
Very sadly Max H then flew home early with a broken arm, with everyone else flying on to Durban. From here we went on safari, seeing some beautiful animals and places, including a boat trip to see hippos and crocodiles very close up!
Swaziland was the next stop, visiting our friends from Estejeni Primary School, some of whom had already visited our school in October 2015. A truly stunning country, with some very inspiring people. It was a true privilege to watch the boys give so much and learn so much, in such a short space of time. I have no doubt that we all returned with life long memories, that will give us a better perspective on life as a whole.
Moulsford has a fine tradition of tours to South Africa dating back to 1999, and the 2018 tour was the largest to date with 67 boys plus staff travelling. Each tour is a precious and amazing opportunity - the experience and memories that the touring party gain - from time spent supporting, living and playing alongside people with very different life experiences - are invaluable.
To enable and support a successful tour, a fundraising committee was established and worked tirelessly to create events that would raise money for the two charities supported by Moulsford:
The Goedgedacht Trust is a rural development centre, seeking to transform rural communities by offering children the opportunity to become healthy, self-confident, educated young people able to take up leadership roles in their own communities.
SKRUM aims to engage the youth of Swaziland in the sport of rugby while educating participants about HIV/AIDS, inspiring leadership and reinforcing positive attitudes about gender and cross-gender relations.
The touring boys were central to our fundraising programme, as well as Moulsford parents who have always played a major part in supporting the activities that underpin the tour. Following on from the success of the 2017 Ridgeway Rhino cycling event in June, the following events took place in the academic year 2017/18:
Friday 17th November: The Moulsford Sporting Lunch, at the prestigious RAC Club in Pall Mall.
Friday 18th May: Wine Tasting Event & Dinner at Henley Rugby Club
Sunday 10th June: Ridgeway Rhino Cycle Ride
The committee also raised funds to cover tour clothing and kit, with assistance from generous sponsors On-Side Law and Couloir who supported the tour.
The success of these initiatives, some of which the committee worked on for the benefit of future tours, depend very much on parental support. We are extremely grateful to all those who worked so hard and contributed so much to this aim.
The two charities supported on the 2018 Tour were Skrum and The Goedgedacht Trust.
Skrum aims to give the youth of Africa hope for the future and for once the freedom of choice in their lives through social education and the opportunity to play the wonderful game of rugby. The charity uses rugby to educate children about HIV/AIDS, gender violence and healthy living. SKRUM visits 200 schools a year and reaches 16,000 children.
Moulsford Prep School had the privilege of hosting a fantastic group of boys from Lobamba in Swaziland in September 2015 who had been given the opportunity by SKRUM to play in the TourAid World Cup which was being hosted in England to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.
As a school it was fantastic to return to their school in Swaziland as part of our 2016 tour and to meet the SKRUM boys and their families again.
Moulsford Prep boys aim to help SKRUM by assisting with coaching rugby to some of the younger pupils at the school as well as providing funds so that the charity can continue its ground breaking work.
The average life expectancy in Swaziland is 32 years old and 31% of all youth are orphans or vulnerable children.
The Goedgedacht Trust is a South African charity for rural impoverished children and our school has been helping them for the last six years.
The Goedgedacht Trust runs many programmes including the Path out of Poverty (POP).
In 2014 previous Moulsford Prep boys started building a playground for GT. In 2016 the boys were able to help complete it and provide essential funds for POP.
POP’s activities include:
Moulsfest was a new initiative to create a fun family festival at Moulsford. As well as being an exciting new addition to the Moulsford community calendar, it also provided an opportunity to raise funds for The Goedgedacht Trust and SKRUM, the charities that we are supporting on the South Africa Rugby Tour 2018.
Festival fun and nearly £6k raised!
The inaugural Moulsfest was held in September 2017. Congratulations to everyone who helped raise the fabulous sum of £5,700 for the two amazing charities we are supporting: The Goedgedacht Trust and SKRUM.
Excitement mounted as the event drew near, with marquees, bunting and sound systems being put in place. The throb of engines filled the air as classic cars arrived, driven or delivered in trailers by their proud owners. Owners generously allowed children to sit in their cars with a prize for most popular car going to Lance Robinson.
By Saturday afternoon, the Moulsford pitches had been transformed into a festival arena, with Year 7 and 8 boys in place to run their stalls and entertain festival-goers with traditional crowd-pleasers such as Splat the Rat, a Coconut Shy, Welly Wanging, Pineapple skittles and many more. The pocket money stalls (especially the sweets…) were a huge hit, and the opportunity to throw a wet sponge at the Headmaster in the stocks proved irresistible for some!
Alongside the stalls, inflatables entertained all ages, including an enormous obstacle course, and a rugby inflatable game provided by SKRUM.
To keep everyone fed and watered, a fabulous barbecue was run by Moulsford staff, with a fantastic array of delicious food. The bar and the Tipsy Trailer enjoyed roaring trade, as did the tea tent, selling superb cakes generously made and donated by Year 7 and 8 parents.
Music filled the air, kicking off with the Year 8 boys reprising songs from their spectacular Lion King production in March. A broad range of musical genres followed, with exciting and varied bands including The Annicka Carter Band, the Studmuffins, and Behind the Bike Sheds, and a dance event for the children led by the Divas and Dudes Dance Academy.
As the event drew to a close, Ben Beardmore-Gray surprised everyone with a guest appearance as lead singer for Behind the Bike Sheds, and a surprisingly decent cover of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. Full marks for effort, but don’t give up the day job just yet!
Huge thanks go to all the Moulsfest organisers and parents who pulled together this fantastic event, as well as the Moulsford staff, for providing an afternoon of fun and entertainment for all, in pursuit of a superb fundraising effort for SKRUM and the Goedgedacht Trust. Particular mention must go to Sam Pritchard for masterminding the event so successfully.
Sam has asked us to pass on a huge thank you to Valentine Ward and Kate Miller for their huge contribution throughout the whole process, as well as Petrina Bilton, Jo Baker and Tania Nokes for their help and support. Also to Victoria Parry for managing the bookings (no small task for over 800 tickets), Alan at Vicar’s Game for the delicious meat, Juliana Phelps for providing and running her Tipsy Trailer and Sarah Roberts/John Wilder for their event support and BBQ skills! Finally, to all of the band members, car providers and many, many others who gave up their time and shared their talents to help make this a brilliant event.
147 Challenge: Paddling the length of the Thames
Sixty-five of the South Africa Tourists enjoyed a wonderful hour on the river during Moulsfest in September 2017. The Year 7 and 8 boys who are going on the South Africa Tour 2018 had been set the challenge to work as a team, to paddle together, to cover a combined total distance of 147 miles - the length of the non-tidal Thames. Each boy was asked to raise money through sponsorship to help reduce the cost of the SA Tour.
The boys paddled roughly two miles each. Some of the boys in kayaks did a little more to help those boys who were in kata-kanoes and canoes, who were naturally a little slower. With Mr Symonds and myself also paddling, and a few of the boys doing extra laps of the island, we managed to reach the magic figure of 147 miles just before 6pm.
It was great to see so many of the boys getting involved and we hope they will remember the experience and will go on to raise money for the SA Tour. It is always good for the boys to be genuinely active and involved in the fund raising for their tour.
Well done to all those involved. A big thank you to Mrs Clements, Mr Watson and Mrs Betts for driving the rescue boat and to Mr Symonds for all his patience and paddling.
Moulsford’s Annual Sporting Lunch was held at the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) on Pall Mall in London on Friday 17 November, with its highest attendance yet of 187. It was fantastic to see so many Moulsford Dads from across the whole school, including a strong Pre-Prep representation, as well as fathers of former pupils. Former England and Bath rugby player David Flatman was joined this year by Tom Shanklin, retired Cardiff Blues, Wales and British Lion legend, and together they entertained guests sharing many humorous anecdotes from their professional rugby-playing careers.
As well as being a social event, the RAC lunch provided an opportunity to fundraise. Flats ran an auction of varied and unique lots from a signed England Rugby Sevens shirt, to tickets for the Aviva Premiership Final in the Royal Box at Twickenham, as well as a skiing weekend and a beautiful framed original watercolour of a scene from Swaziland.
There was also an extremely testing quiz, which certainly sorted the true rugby fanatics from those just along for the lunch!
The charities chosen to benefit from this year’s fundraising were SKRUM and the Goedgedacht Trust. These are the organisations that are being supported by the Moulsford South Africa Rugby Tour 2018, and both do significant work to improve the lives of the youth of Southern Africa. We were enormously privileged to be joined at the lunch by SKRUM founder Michael Collinson, who gave guests a brief insight into the alarming reality of HIV infection statistics in Swaziland, and how SKRUM’s work goes about educating and supporting the Swazi youth to improve their life chances through regular rugby training. The total of £8.5k raised will be split equally between these two charities.
Huge thanks to all those involved in the organisation of the lunch, to those who supported by attending the event and to the generous donors of the auction lots.
A fun and delicious Taste of Africa
After a year of planning combined with a snow postponement, the South African Wine Tasting Dinner finally took place on Friday 18 May 2018 at the Henley Rugby Club.
The Rugby Club was transformed with a South African theme and about 130 people enjoyed entertainment from genuine South African drummers and a Champagne Reception. The Wine Tasting was led by Guy Butterwick from Claret-e, with some delicious wines from Laithwaite's, which were selected from the along the route that the boys will be taking this Summer. Keeping in the spirit of the Game, everyone then took part in an entertaining version of “The Wine Buff’s Guide to Heads or Tails”!
Post dinner, Tony Smyth gave a fascinating talk about the Goedgedacht Trust, and this was followed by an animated Live Auction of some generously donated prizes, which raised considerable funds for the Goedgedacht Trust and SKRUM charities.
Thank you to everyone involved in the organisation and to everyone who came and supported. Here’s to a fantastic Moulsford South Africa 2018 Rugby Tour!