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Rugby charity tastes Knickerbocker Glory after supporting injured player

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Members of an American rugby club have made a trip of more than 3,000 miles to Edinburgh deliver a cheque for more than £3,000 to a Scottish charity.

In 2010, Mike Jones broke his neck while playing at the Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest in Florida. The injury left him paralysed from the neck down.

Hearts and Balls, a Scottish rugby charity which helps the rugby community help its own, immediately stepped in with a donation of £1000 to support Mike and his family during an incredibly difficult time.

As a result, members of the Albany Knickerbockers and their supporters decided they wanted to give back to the charity which helped Mike during his time of need.

Now, after exceeding an initial fundraising target of $2,500 by more than $1,000, a delegation from Mike’s support team, affectionately known as “Jonesy’s Front Row”, embarked on a mission to Murrayfield to hand-deliver the cheque to Hearts + Balls.

On the eve of Scotland’s Six Nations match against Ireland, the group took in Scotland’s team run at one of the most famous stadiums in world rugby, BT Murrayfield.

On behalf of Jonesy’s Front Row, Dave Farison said: “The contribution from Hearts + Balls was vital during a critical time for Mike and it enabled him to transition from Florida to New Jersey to be with his family.

“The generous donation, which was given with nothing but love and support, was all the more incredible as it was from a charity based on the other side of the world. It shows the incredible reach and generosity of the rugby community.

“It’s a true honour to make this trip. I only wish Mike could have joined us. “

The donation will help rugby players and their families in times of need. The charity provides support in the form of property conversions, equipment, travel costs, respite care, legal costs and counselling.

Hearts + Balls board member, and former Scotland captain, Al Kellock, was on hand to accept the cheque on behalf of the charity.

He said: “While our charity was set-up with a mission to help Scottish rugby players who need our support, sometimes, there are cases which simply can’t be ignored.

“The fact that Mike’s friends have pulled together to do their bit and give back so we can help even more people is yet another example of the incredible community involved in the game that we all love.

“I was honoured to welcome them to BT Murrayfield and thank them for their incredible contribution. All our thoughts are with Mike. Hopefully, one day, we’ll have the opportunity to show him that Scottish hospitality is second to none!”

Hearts & Balls at the Jam House

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We are back! Hearts & Balls returns to the Jam House for an evening of live music and entertainment led by former Scotland Captain, Al Kellock, who’s now a Hearts and Balls director.  Every penny from online ticket sales and 50% of the booking fee goes to the charity, so don’t miss out – get your tickets now!

http://ctzn.tk/HBJamHouse

Inaugural Hearts + Balls Festival Raises More than £4K for Charity

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The Hearts and Balls Festival, A Thank You from Jim Taylor to the Rugby Community,  sponsored by Kelvinside Academy, Harper Macleod LLP and BIG Partnership, took place this summer at the Balgray Playing Fields. Thanks to everyone who came along to relive memories with the great and the good of the rugby community and enjoy live music entertainment from British Lion John Beattie’s band. See pictures from the incredible nights below and keep your eyes peeled for details about next year’s event.

View images from the event here.

Jim Taylor featured in the Sunday Post

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Thanks to Alan Shaw who recently covered our ambassador Jim Taylor’s story in his “Health Matters” column in the Sunday Post. You can read the article below:

JIM TAYLOR regards himself as a fortunate man. That’s despite the rugby injury 40 years ago that paralysed him from the chest down. Not even being diagnosed with breast cancer just short of his 60th birthday could convince Jim he’s not one of the lucky ones. “I’m blessed in many ways. I’ve got a great wife, we’ve been married 25 years, and if it wasn’t for Sandra I wouldn’t be half the man I am,” says Jim, 63, from Bearsden. “I’ve been very lucky, and I was very lucky again when Sandra noticed a wee lump next to my nipple and said, ‘I think we’ll go and get it checked out’.

“We got a biopsy done, were called back and I must admit I felt for Sandra because my consultant, who was fantastic, came in and said, ‘Just to let you know, Jim, you’ve got cancer and you’ve got the Rottweiler type.’ “That was December and we got the surgery early January. He gave me a booklet and said, ‘You might want to read that’ but I just said, ‘I don’t really read a lot, just tell me what I’ve to do and I’ll do it’ and he bought into the fact that was my mentality. “Once I healed up I had three lots of chemotherapy and then 16-odd doses of radiotherapy.

That was the one that worried me more but apart from losing my hair I didn’t really have many side-effects. “It was hard going and you can’t say it’s fun but it was easier for me than for some and I couldn’t have been better looked after.”

Rugby has been a lifelong passion for Jim – he combines business with pleasure by working on the commercial side for Glasgow Warriors – even though he suffered a catastrophic spinal injury in a pre-season friendly for Kelvinside Accies against Old Aloysians four decades ago. “I played prop but I was filling in at hooker so my mate could go to a wedding, and I was up against the Glasgow hooker at the time,” recalls Jim.

“It was a muddy, wet day, the third scrum went down and that was kind of it. I probably dropped my shoulder a bit, whether that caused I who knows but in reality I wouldn’t have survived if it hadn’t been for Roddy MacLeod and Paul Rodgers who played for Old Aloysians and were both doctors. “I’m absolutely indebted to them for saving my life, by not letting anyone move me.

“You look back and it was a bit of a hoot, the gate was all rusted shut and they had to burst it open to get the ambulance out onto the pitch for me! “I was in intensive care for just over a week with a kind of Heath-Robinson contraption drilled into my head to keep it steady. “Then I was moved over to the spinal unit in East Kilbride and I was there for 11 months, the first six of which I was pinned to the bed.

“You have a good rapport with the physios, they kept you going but some folk need pushed harder than others. “I was lucky in that there was something inside me that said, ‘You just fight on and that’s it’ whereas a couple of others in there turned their faces to the wall and you could kind of see them giving up. “There was one guy who the physios said they couldn’t get into the gym, and I said, ‘Can you not just take the breaks off and shove him in?’! “I wasn’t aware I was going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life from the word go but eventually I was given the news, ‘You’re not going to walk again, Jim’. “You have an idea, though, because you think, ‘There aren’t many tall people in here’ and you hear the squeak of the wheelchairs! “I set a goal of walking out and I did get myself up onto the bars with the callipers but I didn’t have the balance because I’m paralysed from my nipple line down.

“It was nobody’s fault. It was an accident, like the guy in the spinal unit who tripped over his dog lead and that was him. “At the end of the day it is what it is and I’ve no regrets. Each day’s a bonus and you take them as they come. “Are you always going to have a smile on your face? No, because you’re just like everyone else. “I had a year in the hospital when I was working on writing and trying to shave, all the mundane things, learning to try and use a knife and fork.

“I went back to the bank which was just down the road from my house, so every young lad that joined, it was his job to get me up and down the road – much to their joy when it was raining and they’d have to wrap me up in bin bags! “I worked with them till I was 50 and then I got the chance to work at Glasgow Warriors where I run the business club. “And the great thing is wheelchair access is getting better all the time. I can go to more places now than I could 40 years ago – I’m not classed as a fire hazard in restaurants!”

Jim was awarded an MBE for his services to charity. He is an ambassador for Hearts And Balls, providing support to other players who suffer life-changing injuries playing the game they love.

Sevens specialists get on their bikes to raise funds for Hearts + Balls

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The Mighty Bovs will prepare for the upcoming sevens season with a massive cycling challenge, with all funds raised going to Hearts + Balls.

The highlight of the team’s successful season last year was a trip to compete in the Valencia sevens in June.

Fittingly, the team have decided to cycle the distance of the Valencia away trip -which is more than 2000km –at Nuffield Corn Exchange gym in Edinburgh on February 17th next year.

Club manager Dylan Russell said: “Individually as players we have all picked up some form of injury over the course of our playing careers, whether it be concussion, torn ligaments or broken bones.

However, there are players out there who do not return to the playing field and whose injury can be life changing. After partnering with Hearts + Balls last season, we decided that we wanted to give back this year and organise this fundraising event.

We implore you to donate whatever money you can to this cause to help us reach our target and more. You can find out more and donate here.

Charity Cycle Poster

Trio of rugby clubs share £6K donation from Hearts + Balls

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This year, Livingston, Crieff and Strathearn and Alloa rugby clubs each benefited from £2,000 from Hearts and Balls after Scottish Rugby received Sustainability Fund Grant applications which included an element to improve disabled access.

To mark the recent donation, Livingston held a collection at their 50th Anniversary match against local rivals Linlithgow, during which special guests included Scottish Rugby president Dee Bradbury and the Calcutta Cup! The club collected more than £100 making it one of a number of supporters Hearts and Balls would like to thank for their donations in recent months.

The charity will be able to continue to help rugby help its own thanks to donations from the Glasgow Warriors golf day, Saints and Sinners, Tony Brogan and The XVith Warrior: Glasgow Warriors supporters group, among many others.

Visit our donations page to show your support.

Glasgow rugby community to come together to celebrate the life of one of their own

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Jim Taylor MBE has lived a fulfilling life, during which he has given so much back to the game he loves.

Although his playing career came to end four decades ago while playing for Kelvinside Academicals, when a rugby scrummage collapsed and he broke his neck, Jim has risen above all trials and tribulations.

When the Glasgow hero found out he had breast cancer in 2015, Jim knew he had the power to pull through, because that’s what Jim does. Time and time again he has beaten the odds.

Now, as Jim approaches this year’s 40th anniversary of him becoming paralysed, he wants to say thank you to all those who have stood by him and shown support throughout the years.

The Hearts Ballsand Balls Festival, A Thank You from Jim Taylor to the Rugby Community, sponsored by Kelvinside Academy, Harper Macleod LLP and BIG Partnership, will take place on 23 June at the Balgray Playing Fields.

Attendees can celebrate Jim and enjoy live music entertainment from British Lion John Beattie’s band.

“I have an endless number of people to thank for the support I’ve received over the years. It’ll be a tremendous opportunity to celebrate and bring awareness to what the Hearts Ballsand Balls Charitable Trust is doing in the greater community,” says Taylor.

The event is set to begin at 6pm, and food and drink will be included in the ticket price. All profits will go towards Hearts Ballsand Balls, ‘helping rugby help its own.’

Jim has been the Glasgow Warriors Partnership Account Manager since 2011 and has been an instrumental part in helping support those who have suffered spinal injuries from playing rugby. He was awarded an MBE for his service to charity in 2015.

Tickets are £30. To book visit Eventbrite.

Hearts + Balls look to find winning ways at NCS Glasgow 7’s on Saturday

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Following the success of last year’s sevens team, the Hearts + Balls Charitable Trust will participate in several more tournaments in 2018 under the direction of Bruce Ruthven.

Ruthven, a former 7s player at Melrose RFC and current Rugby Coordinator at Stewart’s Melville College, understands the aim of participating in these tournaments, is to promote the charity and bring awareness to the work that is being done in the community.

However, Ruthven believes some of the best exposure for the charity is by competing well at these tournaments.

“It is important that the Hearts + Balls squads come together quickly on the day as we want to be competitive at each tournament.  We would like to think we play an attractive style of 7s and provide some good entertainment for the spectators.  If we reach the finals stages of a tournament this can only provide greater exposure for the charity but fundamentally we are there to enjoy the day, engage with club members and the public, and be great ambassadors for the charity,” said Ruthven.

Sporting a brand-new kit, the team travelled this past week to the 51st Orkney Rugby Sevens in hopes of defending last year’s title. Despite a tremendous effort, the team were denied back-to-back titles, finishing second out of 18 sides.

Orkney, led by Scott Russell and Jon Tait, defeated the charity 10-7, claiming their first Sevens title since 2014.

Hearts + Balls now shift their focus of attention to this Saturday’s upcoming tournament at Cartha Queen’s Park RFC.

The team will then wrap up play this spring the following weekend at Jedforest’s 125th Anniversary 7’s.

We give thanks to the following sponsors for this spring’s rugby campaign;

Argyle Consulting – Barclay Gilmour – Rydens – Martin Currie Investment Management – Orkney Builders, Kirkjuvagr Gin – Loganair – Edinburgh Partners Ltd

Date for Your Diary

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On the June 23rd at Balgray, a special event to mark Jim Taylor’s 40th year in a chair will take place.

Johnny Beattie’s band will perform and a whole host of rugby starts from past and present will be in attendance.

This event is expected to be a sell-out so keep your eyes peeled for details of how to get tickets.

Get your tickets to Super Saturday at Balgray to support Hearts + Balls

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On Saturday, March 17th, Italy host Scotland at 12.30pm,  England take on Ireland at 2.45pm and Wales face France at 5pm.

You can enjoy ALL the rugby, Q&As with special guests, a free drink on arrival and food throughout the day for £35, with funds raised going to Hearts + Balls and The Prince & Princess of Wales hospice.

Contact Fergus@tsngevents.com or John@tsngevents.com or call 07979526034 to book your place.