This summer 15 players from Ballynahinch RFC will be on tour in Africa – nothing strange about that you might say, but these ‘Hinch lads have a real task ahead of them. They are heading to Bungoma in Western Kenya where they will help to build houses as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village programme.
This month the 15 travelling to Kenya include first team players Stewart Megaw, Johnny Graham, Chris Stevenson, Robert Greer, Lloyd Jones, Niall McBriar and Mattie Glenn, and they have all received their strict fitness programmes from the club coach. Charlie Knox, Peter Glass, Mark McCormick, James Gregg, Alan Silcock, Peter Edgar, Niall Montgomery and Jonathan Napier represent the remaining six adult teams from the club.
Charlie Knox and Mattie Glenn lead the ‘Hinch team and Charlie said: “When Mattie and I first thought of this project we wondered about the level of support and interest we would get from within the club, and to be honest it has been fantastic. The enthusiasm, encouragement and support from everyone has been overwhelming and it is giving our team the prospect of being able to positively change peoples’ lives while giving us a chance to broaden our own experiences and outlook.”
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing charity. Operating in 100 countries around the world, their goal is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness throughout the world, and to make adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action.
Habitat for Humanity invite people of all backgrounds, race and religion to build houses together in partnership with families in need. Northern Ireland has supported Habitat for Humanity projects throughout the developing world by raising funds and sending out volunteer teams. To date, 130 teams, numbering over 1,800 people, from the province have travelled to the developing world to build houses alongside families in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Ballynahinch club chairman and this season’s Ulster Branch President David Workman said: “The boys are a real credit to our club and to Ulster Rugby. A considerable amount of fundraising had to be planned and carried out, from car washes at Mini Rugby, numerous quiz nights, dances and coffee mornings all of which raised funds to make this trip possible. It is tremendous to see the spirit initiative and enthusiasm of these young lads whose aim is to help those less fortunate than themselves. I know they will prove to be great ambassadors for our Club and Ulster Rugby and I wish them an enjoyable, successful and rewarding experience.”
The Kenya team received generous sponsorship from Robert McCormick of Children’s Choice Publications. Robert, whose son Mark is travelling to Kenya, was delighted to provide financial assistance and said: “It is great to have this opportunity to encourage these young men to give back to those who are less fortunate than themselves, and I have no doubt that this trip will leave a lasting impression on their lives.”
For more information check out Ballynahinch’s brand new website for the 2007/08 season – http://www.hinchrfc.com/
Good luck to Charlie, Mattie and the ‘Hinch contingent from IrishRugby.ie