Rugby Recycled ready for big Christmas push

Transforming old rugby balls into pencil cases and wash bags has raised over £2,500 for the Wooden Spoon charity

Billy and Tam are key members of Rugby Recycled's workforce
Billy and Tam are key members of Rugby Recycled's workforce

WHAT started out as a fun diversion to break up the monotony of lockdown has developed into a thriving cottage industry for Adrian Graves, his wife Lynn, and his two rugby-loving sons Billy and Tam, which has raised over £2,500 for The Wooden Spoon Foundation charity so far with a. £4,000 target for the run up to Christmas.

The seed of the idea which grew into ‘Rugby Recycled’ was planted whilst visiting the Medieval French market town of Dinan last year, when the family spotted a stall selling recycled products, including wallets and pencil cases made from old rugby balls. However, the eureka moment came several months later.

“My twin boys who are in primary seven now, and I take their rugby at Stew-Mel Lions,” explains Adrian. “I’m also do the co-ordinator for the club, so when we started trying to get ready for the new season back in September, which involved disinfecting all the balls, the boys came up with the idea of making something out of oldest ones which really weren’t worth trying to save.”

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“At a time when charities are going to find it hard to raise money, and when we should have a focus on recycling as much as we can, it just seemed like a great thing to take on … and the rest is history!

“We’ve been getting balls from all over the place – a club in Shrewsbury recently sent a big package, and we’ve had donations from loads of clubs and schools closer to home – so we’ve been really lucky with all the support we’ve had.

“Ideally, we’re looking for size three and size four balls, we then scrub them as clean as we can, cut them in half down the seam, unpick the thread that has held them together, and the holes left behind are big enough for us to stitch in the zip before we sew them together again in a pencil-case design.

“It doesn’t take a massive amount of skill, but a fair but of elbow grease. The boys are 11, so they do the scrubbing, cutting and unpicking, then Lynn and I do the sewing to make sure it is nice and strong. It probably takes an hour to do one pencil case all-in, so it is not the quickest of jobs, but it’s not like we have loads of options of things to do at the moment so this is something that has given us a bit of focus.

“If I’m being honest, we didn’t realise how much time and work it was going to take – we seem to spend every spare minute sewing rugby balls –  but the boys have been excellent in sustaining their enthusiasm, and they get a real buzz from keeping track of how many pencil cases we’ve made and how much money we’ve raised.”

“We’re not going to do it indefinitely,” he adds. “We’ll have a big push for Christmas because they are a great stocking filler, and if we can make £4,000 for the charity then happy days.”

To find out more about Rugby Recycled click HERE

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