England’s Wheelchair and Physical Disability World Cup winners are heading to two London landmarks on Monday – ringing the closing bell at the London Stock Exchange, and then as guests of honour at a celebration of Disability History Month at Speaker’s House.
And that will be followed over the coming weeks and months by a number of InspiredBy Celebration Events across the north, as the RFL builds on the most inclusive World Cup in history by working with clubs of all levels to open the door to Wheelchair and Women’s Rugby League – with National Lottery support facilitating a HeRLegacy series.
England’s Wheelchair triumph on Friday night captured the imagination of the nation, with record crowds, viewing figures and all manner of unexpected congratulatory messages, from the England football team on the eve of their World Cup campaign, to astronaut Tim Peake.
They will be linking up with the PDRL team, who secured their own World Cup by beating New Zealand last month, in a trip to London that would have been hard to imagine until recent weeks, taking the trophies to the heart of the City and then across to the Houses of Parliament – the latter at the invitation of the Speaker himself, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who will next month succeed Clare Balding CBE in the honorary role of President of the Rugby Football League.
The England Wheelchair stars will also be making guest appearances with the World Cup trophy at InspiredBy events at existing Wheelchair Rugby League clubs – starting at Leeds Rhinos and Sheffield Eagles on November 28, and moving to Wigan Warriors two days later, and then to Hull FC on December 1.
The success and profile of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup has already led to an explosion in interest, with Salford Red Devils the first of what is expected to be a number of clubs launching teams in 2023.
And the RFL’s club-finder page has been the busiest on the website in recent days.
Details will be announced soon of an InspiredBy session for the London Roosters, the new club that was created to compete in the Betfred Wheelchair Super League in 2022 – and which is the home of World Cup winners Joe Coyd, Lewis King and head coach Tom Coyd, showing that Wheelchair Rugby League is anything but a northern sport.
It has been a similar story in the Women’s and Girls game since the England team played to their highest ever audiences, both in the flesh and on the BBC – and that is where the National Lottery HeRLegacy Series comes in.
Again, the England World Cup stars will be involved, offering Masterclasses to girls who already play Rugby League or who have been inspired to give it a try.
Sessions have already been confirmed through the Foundations of Hull FC, Hull KR, St Helens and Whitehaven next Saturday (November 26), and then on December 1 in Warrington, on December 6 in Wigan, on December 7 in Huddersfield, and on December 8 in Barrow.
Further sessions are expected to follow in Leeds and York – for full details, click on this form The National Lottery HeRLegacy Series Parent/Player Form (office.com)
The InspiredBy campaign will continue in the New Year when the bulk of Community and Junior clubs return, running through until the start of the 2023 season – with PDRL activity also included. This is a resumption of the InspiredBy activity launched prior to the World Cup this autumn.