A Visit To Bath To Celebrate History And Look At The Future

On the back of some very hard work a commemorative book celebrating HMS Illustrious was written, printed and bound before being touchingly presented to the final Ship’s Company. In keeping with the strong affiliations that ships have with other groups and societies, it seemed fitting that these societies were also presented with the commemorative book. Bath Rugby was one of these affiliations. Alongside the book, the final rugby shirt of Illustrious, designed by SLt Tiny Richardson, was also presented to Matt Powell, Business Development Director, on behalf of Managing Director Tarquin Mcdonald.

Elements from the RNRU comms team including Lt Cdrs Graham Inglis and Jamie Campbell-Baldwin (Illustrious’s Bath Rugby affiliation’s officer) together with LPT Sam Sims were invited to Farleigh House, home of Bath Rugby to conduct the presentation. Seizing on the chance of some interaction with a professional outfit such as Bath, Tanya Hitchcox, Sinead Russel and Bazz Barrett kindly gave up their time to discuss the intricacies of promoting a brand, namely the RNRU. They provided some excellent insight leaving the team with some food for thought to discuss with the rest of the comms team. As information flows both ways the comms team were quick to inform Bath of the IDRC and the RN’s part in it as well as highlighting the importance of the inter services and the fixture against the Marine Nationale.

The meeting took place in the boardroom of the magnificent Farleigh House which is the training facility of the team. While the ticket and club shop and the Recreation Ground are located in the town itself, Farleigh House is set the idyllic surrounding countryside, providing for all the players’ requirement from video analysis, rehab and physio, gyms and training areas and catering as the tour from Matt Powell so evidently illustrated.

Which conveniently brings us onto the subject of food. Diet is clearly a key consideration with individuals on set nutrition plans based on a number of factors. With a full time catering team on hand the players are well taken care of. Testament to this was the spread laid before the guests, which, it was explained, was standard fare. Eat big to get big!

After lunch, the team bumped into Head Coach Mike Ford who kindly extended an invitation to watch the senior team train on the 3G pitch. Though a number of players were absent at international training camps, there was still a level of wow factor as there were a number of familiar faces who played such an important role in getting Bath to the Premiership Final last season. One face not seen was the son of RNRU Chairman as the academy had trained during the morning session. Due to the World Cup the season doesn’t commence until the quarter final stage, in the meantime Bath are preparing for a pre-season involving playing Gloucester and Exeter both home and away.

Humbled by the warmth of the welcome and the willingness of the hosts to engage, the comms team departed, mission complete. Keen to reciprocate the RNRU is well placed to assist Bazz Barrett who is acting as a media officer for the USA Eagles, who will be based in HMS TEMERAIRE during the pool stages of RWC15.

Look out for details for Combined Services v Bath United (where a number of RN players will be represented) at the Rec in Nov as part of November Ceremonies and 150 years of Bath Rugby.

Article by J Campbell-Baldwin. Images © J Campbell-Baldwin and © Patrick Khachfe Onside Images.