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A team of rugby playing “bishops” has raised thousands of pounds for charity.
Essex Bishops XV, the official veterans team for Essex County RFU, play most Sundays in a bid to raise cash for a range of local and national charities.
The Bishops, so-called because of Shepherd Neame’s support through their distinctive Kentish ale Bishop’s Finger, have donated £3,500 to charity for the 2009 and 2010 seasons - £1,750 each. The team, led by captain Richard Austin, raised money at every game through a combination of the players’ subs and selling equipment.
Shepherd Neame supports the team by supplying polo shirts and Bishop’s Finger.
In 2009, the Essex Bishops donated £500 to the Everyman Cancer Charity; £250 to the Cumbrian Flood Disaster; and £1,000 to the Aaron Williams Trust, a charity in support of rugby player Aaron who was paralysed following an accident.
For 2010, the team has raised £250 for the Essex Wooden Spoon; £1,000 to the England Deaf Charitable Trust for Children; and £500 to Romford RFC in aid of seven-year-old mini-rugby section player Alex Field who in is need of £50,000 to pay for a vital brain operation in California.
Richard Austin said: “I want to say a big thank you to all who have taken part in both this and last seasons’ games and in particular, to our vice-captain Christy McCann.”
Shepherd Neame’s head of free-on sales, Giles Hilton said: “We would like to congratulate the Essex Bishops on their fantastic fund-raising work. We are proud to be associated with such a successful team.”
The photo shows, left to right, Richard Austin; the Bishop of Barking, Rt Revd David Hawkins; and Giles Hilton of Shepherd Neame