Gary Bushell (R) receiving the Chris Alcock Award presented by Chris for outstanding achievement in support of the RNRU.

16 December 2023

Navy Rugby Volunteers Valued!

Congratulations to Cdr Gary Bushell, LS (AWT) Jarrad Hulm, POPT Luke Warrington, LPT Sophie Goodwright, LAET Sam Carter and Sgt Ben Felgate for your invaluable support. The awards were presented by Chris Alcock and RAdm Moorhouse at the November AGM held in HMS Temeraire.

Cdr Gary Bushell - Chris Alcock Oustanding Contribution Award
Gary Bushell joined the Royal Navy Rugby Union in 2003, advancing from Assistant to Director of Communications to Director of Community Rugby by 2005. As a Level 2 Coach and Coach Educator, he led grassroots sessions, bolstered player development, and expanded rugby opportunities. Rising to Commander, he transitioned to the Sea Cadet Corps before joining the Council of Reserves’ and Cadets’ Associations in 2009. Embracing the Army v Navy match committee, he became its Secretary, later assuming the role of Chair until 2023. Under his tenure, attendance soared from 44,000 to a full Twickenham house of 82,000, marked by milestones like the centennial celebration in 2017 and inclusion of the Senior Women’s match in 2022. Gary's leadership reshaped the match day to mirror rugby's evolving landscape. After 15 years, his departure leaves a legacy of dedication, collaborative spirit, and triumph over challenges, greatly benefiting the Royal Navy and British Army members' representation in England Rugby's prestigious arena.

LS (AWT) Jarrad Hulm - VtV 2023
Jarrad Hulm, an accomplished sports photographer for Royal Navy Rugby Union, showcased unmatched dedication and skill. His talent in seizing pivotal moments on the rugby field reflected a deep understanding of the sport. Through his lens, he encapsulated raw intensity, unity, and sportsmanship, becoming an invaluable asset to the Union. His standout role at Twickenham Stadium, notably during the Senior Men's camp leading to the Army Navy fixture, cemented his significance. Beyond traditional match day photography, Jarrad's innovation expanded Navy Rugby’s visual output, including videography. His work not only documented the game but immortalized the spirit and dedication of Royal Navy rugby, making him an integral part of its history.

POPT Luke Warrington - VtV 2023
POPT Luke Warrington exemplifies unwavering dedication. Over two years, he revitalised HMS Collingwood's Rugby Union, expanding a ten-player pool to over forty, mostly grassroots recruits. Warrington tirelessly orchestrated training, matches, and funding, instilling rugby's ethos across the establishment, becoming a natural leader on and off the field. His leadership guided the team to a surprising Navy Cup victory in both Xvs and VIIs, nurturing a proud, tight-knit community. His coaching prowess elevated numerous players to representative levels, impacting teams across the Royal Navy. Beyond Rugby Union, his role in strength and conditioning and managerial positions showcases his multifaceted contributions to naval sports success.

LPT Sophie Goodwright - VtV 2023
Sophie Goodwright, at RNAS Yeovilton, assumed multiple roles including HMS Heron and FAA Physical Trainer, S & C Coach, manager, and secretary. Upon arrival, rugby activities were nonexistent; she took charge, forming a team of 40+ players with regular training, largely led by her. Sophie meticulously devised a comprehensive S&C program, accommodating remote and in-person sessions. She fostered relations with Bath rugby for coaching sessions. For FAA Rugby, she orchestrated fixtures, managing logistics for events like the Inverdale Challenge final, impressively organising a competitive squad and post-match arrangements on short notice. Sophie's passion and organizational prowess have reinvigorated rugby in Yeovil, ensuring regular fixtures and team development.

LAET Sam Carter - VtV 2023
LAET Sam Carter has transformed HMS SEAHAWK rugby, bring the team out of obscurity to a motivated, diverse team. He facilitated the inclusion of rookies alongside UKAF representatives, and is largely credited for the team's resurgence. Despite personal achievements in the RNRU and club rugby with Pirates Amateurs, Sam devoted himself to coaching at Seahawk RFC, imparting life lessons through the sport. His optimism amid setbacks inspired and engaged the team, fostering weekly training sessions and friendly matches against local clubs. Sam secured sponsorship for essential gear, embodying Cumbria's resilience. Prioritising leadership and using rugby's values, he nurtured his players to an enjoyable and successful season.

Sgt Ben Felgate - VtV 2023
Sgt Ben Felgate RM is employed as PT1 for Phase One Training for the Royal Marines Band Service, exhibiting professionalism and a notable work ethic. Beyond his role, as Team Manager for Royal Marines Rugby Union Club, he excels, dedicating extensive hours to organising the team, training, and match days. His efforts significantly contribute to the team's success which included lifting the Inverdale Challenge Trophy as this year's winning captain. Felgate is respected for understanding player and unit needs, leading by example on the field, and fostering strong relationships between RMRFC and the Commando Units. His post-match efforts, include individually thanking Commanding Officers for player release, cementing rugby at grassroots levels. Felgate merits recognition for his selfless commitment, aligning rugby with Royal Marine values.

Images by LH J Hulm, PO(Phot) K Heller.