Wednesday 6th March was a day to remember for Team Mintridge, the staff and students at Northampton International Academy. Numerous students from the school were selected to be a part of a unique Gold rugby Programme with Northampton Saints rugby player, George Furbank as part of a special Programme donated by the Robert Elliott Trust.
The programme was created in memory of Robert Elliott who suffered from Muscular Dystrophy and died in 2016 at the young age of 24. As an avid sports fan and, a Northampton Saints supporter, the Mintridge Foundation team and Robert’s family felt that this would be the greatest way to keep his memory alive in the most positive way with Northampton Saints Full Back at the forefront!
Our day began with a quick introduction and the first of two coaching sessions being delivered by George throughout the day. The boys who had been selected to attend, were all extremely attentive and keen to get started. With our specially branded rugby balls in hand, the boys were off and ready to get stuck in with the exciting session ahead. As part of the warm up George introduced a quick game of touch rugby to get the students ready for the second part of the session, focusing on tackling and mauling. It wasn’t long before everyone was covered in mud and red faced, after working extremely hard in their small groups to beat their opposing attacker. It was great to see all the smiling faces after a tough contact session led by George.
At the end of the session we celebrated the fun we had had, with some group and individual photos with the Mintridge Twitter frame and props. It was also at this point George chose two players out of the session, who had worked hard throughout and applied what they had learnt in the game-based activity at the end. These two students received a goody bag full of surprises including some Mintridge prizes and some very tasty healthy brownies, from our partner Nibble.
To add to their collection of memories from our morning of fun, the students each walked away with a signed autograph card.
Our second session welcomed a mix of players, that were also quick to impress George. After a group warm up, it was time for the girls and boys to get straight into their first lesson on mauling. Every student worked extremely hard to show their strength against their opponent. It wasn’t long before the tackle pads made an appearance and after being shown the correct technique, the students were ready to start tackling each other and work the ball away from the defender. It was amazing to see everyone working at full their full potential and putting all their efforts into each tackle. The small game at the end was the perfect way for the students to show off the skills they had learned throughout their session with George.
The Mintridge Twitter frame proved a hit with the second group and lots of smile were captured at the end of the session, despite the weather and wet conditions. Two more lucky students walked away with a Mintridge goody bag, to celebrate their hard work and the group all received a signed autograph card. Although the students were sad the session was over, they saved any questions they had ready for the afternoon, when they would hear George’s presentation and journey into sport.
With only a few hours left to go, the students came together after lunch to hear all about George’s journey into sport and the valuable skills it has taught him. It was also at this point we heard some fantastic questions from the students and the big Northampton Saints fans among them. It was a great way for the students to hear how George has dealt with certain pressures throughout his career so far.
Some of the best questions were:
What has been your worst injury?
Who do you get on the most with in your team?
Who is the hardest team you’ve played against?
How often do you train?
Were you the best in your class?
Who is the best player at Northampton Saints?
It was an incredibly valuable experience for the students in this session to hear how hard George has worked and is still working to reach his goal. The students were extremely attentive when George explained how he has had to bounce back and show extreme resilience when faced with injury or not being selected for a team.
It wouldn’t be a Mintridge Programme without a few more pictures to add to our memories of the day. A first for George and Team Mintridge with a big group selfie which was a great way to represent the fun we had had throughout the day. At the end of the presentation each student posted a question, thought or key take away into the Mintridge post box.
At the end of what was already a perfect day, George was introduced to his two new gold mentees. They had been chosen out of their school and coaching groups, to receive the tremendous privilege of receiving a six-month mentoring Programme with George. As we sat together the boys were able to get to know a little more about George and talk about what the next six months of mentoring might look like for them. We can’t wait to see and hear how they get on over the next six months.
Overall everyone at Team Mintridge has a brilliant day and we can’t wait to follow the journey of George’s two mentees.
We are incredibly grateful to The Robert Elliott Trust for donating this Programme.
Thank you to the staff and students at Northampton International Academy, for welcoming us to your school and taking part in the day.
If you would like to see any of the photos from the day, please contact the staff at Northampton International Academy.
You can watch the video of our day at our YouTube channel via this link: https://youtu.be/VP7CisLSJp8
We look forward to working with you again soon.