News

Grand Slam celebration dinner postponed

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Following the Scottish Government’s advice on gatherings of more than 500 people and amid concerns over the escalating Coronavirus outbreak, the Hearts + Balls board has taken the decision to postpone the Grand Slam Celebration Dinner, which was scheduled for Friday 8 May at the EICC in Edinburgh. 

While this is hugely disappointing for the charity, our partners and members of both Grand Slam-winning teams, it was considered the only reasonable course of action to ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests. 

We are currently working with our event partners the EICC to reschedule the event for later this year.  All tickets will be honoured and ticketholders will be contacted directly in the coming days. 

Hearts + Balls MB to take part in Three Peaks Challenge to help rugby help its own

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Our 7s squad, Hearts + Balls MB, will go more than a few steps beyond in their efforts for the charity this year. 

They’ll take a break from their packed schedule of tournaments on June 27th, when they plan to conquer the highest summits in Scotland, England and Wales in just 24hours.

It’s all to raise funds and awareness for Hearts + Balls and to “help rugby help its own”.

If you want to make Hearts + Balls part of your club’s fundraising efforts this year, get in touch!

You can donate to their efforts here:

Hearts + Balls MB announces new squad and unveils new kit ahead of 2020 campaign

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Hearts + Balls MB has announced its squad for the 2020 sevens circuit.
And they’ll look the part in brand new kit, courtesy of Rival Kit.
 
The team’s ambassador Colin Gregor presented the players with their new kit at the campaign’s launch event at Bier Hoose last week.
 
The former Scotland sevens captain said: “Every single one of the 30 players selected for this year’s Hearts + Balls MB squad will make a huge impact, not only on the sevens circuit but on the lives of injured rugby players. By playing entertaining rugby across the country and beyond this spring, they’ll help spread awareness of and fundraise for an incredible charity doing great things to help members of the rugby community who need support.”

“The squad will develop both on and off the pitch, and will share incredibly memorable experiences. The players are all inspired by the people the charity supports and they, in turn, hope to provide opportunities for the beneficiaries to develop and benefit.”
 
Businesses across Scotland have backed the team ahead of the campaign, including Argyle Consulting, Bier Hoose, Cream Floats, Ryden, HIT, Lift Gyms and SportsHall medical supplies.
 
Club manager Dylan Russell said: “We would like to thank all our sponsors and partners who are working alongside us this year. The players are incredibly motivated to do the charity proud and they’ll do that by playing an incredibly exciting brand of rugby with great spirit throughout this season, and for many years to come. They have impressed in previous seasons and I feel this one is going to be even bigger so keep an eye out for our summer schedule launching and come along to support!”
 
Here’s the Hearts + Balls MB 2020 squad:
Euan Bowen (1)
Stewart Hagart (2)
Jamez Ferguson (3)
Andrew Wilson (4)
Graeme Mitchell (5)
Mark Sinclair (6)
Dylan Russell (7)
Kyle Adams (8)
James Ferguson (9)
Craig Davidson (10)
Andy Smith (11)
Calum Hart (12)
Nathan Ross (13)
Willie Malcolm (14)
Euan Morrison (15)
David Devlin (16)
Will Lockhart (17)
Charlie Simmonds (18)
Jamie Mcgurk (19)
Matt Sanderson (20)
Dale Gordon (21)
Gus Hillhouse (22)
James King (23)
FInlay Broomfield (24)
Scott Aldritt (25)
Freddie Roddick (26)
Rhys Gilroy (27)
Danny Bain (28)
Thomas Klein (29)
Geoff Angco (30)
Pictured with Colin Gregor: Euan Bowen (Founder), Dylan Russell (Club Manager).
Thanks to Libby Blakeman (@theogblakemanphotos) for all photos.

GRAND SLAM CELEBRATION DINNER

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CALDER BROTHERS SHARE MURRAYFIELD MEMORIES AHEAD OF GRAND SLAM DINNER

 Scotland’s Grand Slam winning squads of 1984 and 1990 team up to raise money for Hearts + Balls 

Scotland’s Grand Slam winning teams of 1984 and 1990 will come together for the very first time at a unique dinner to raise money for rugby players who have suffered life changing injuries.

The Grand Slam Celebration dinner, which will take place on Friday 8 May at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, will raise awareness and funds for Hearts + Balls. The event will mark the 30th Anniversary of the 1990 Grand Slam win.

Jim Calder, who scored the winning try in Scotland’s 21-12 victory over France at Murrayfield in 1984, which gave Scotland its first Grand Slam since 1925, was joined by his brother Finlay, the flanker who helped Scotland to glory in 1990, at the Dinner’s launch at BT Murrayfield today.

Jim, who never played in the same Scotland Test side as his twin brother, said: “It might have been 36 years ago, but sometimes it feels like yesterday. It was just tremendous to have been involved in such an iconic moment in Scottish Rugby. My only small regret is that I wasn’t able to play here with Fin in 1990!

“Both teams are looking forward to getting together to compare stories and have a bit of friendly debate about which team would have won had we ever played each other. Rugby provided some of the best moments of our lives, so it’s important we all come together to raise funds to support rugby players and their families during times of need.”

Full squads from both 1984 and 1990 will be in attendance at the event which will be hosted by Dougie Donnelly, who was an integral part of the TV coverage in both 1984 and 1990, and features music from 1984 Grand Slam winner John Beattie and his band.

Since Hearts + Balls was founded in 1999, it has provided more than £650,000 to rugby players who have suffered serious injuries. The support has ranged from property conversions to counselling.

The charity’s chairman Kenny Hamilton said: “This event and the generosity of Scotland’s rugby community will help  Hearts + Balls continue to make a real and lasting difference to those who need it most, and to help support initiatives to make the game we all love as safe as possible.”

Hearts + Balls is currently collaborating with Scottish Rugby on a major injury prevention strategy and is working to support the growth of wheelchair rugby.

Tickets are available from Hearts & Balls

RUGBY CHARITY ADDS MIGHT TO ITS SEVENS SIDE

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Hearts+Balls teams up with Mighty Bovs and former Scotland captain Colin Gregor

A pair of successful Scottish sevens rugby sides have joined forces to become a major player on the circuit.

Hearts+Balls and the Mighty Bovs are set to combine their support, player pool and resources   under one unified banner, Hearts+Balls MB.

The newly-established side will benefit from the coaching, guidance and experience of one of Scotland’s greatest ever players of the adapted format of the game, former captain Colin Gregor.

The country’s record points scorer, who represented Scotland at three World Cups and two Commonwealth Games, has joined the charity as an ambassador.

The charity established a sevens side in 2016 to raise awareness of its mission – helping members of the rugby community who need it most – to players and clubs across Scotland.

Under the watchful eye of former Melrose stalwart Bruce Ruthven, players from across the country have pulled on the pink jersey to help the fledgling side to impressive early showings, including victories at Orkney and Mull. The merger will allow Hearts+Balls access to a wider pool of players and to participate in at least ten tournaments every season.

Businesses across the country have shown their support for Hearts+Balls MB, with Argyle Consulting, CreamFloats, HIT, LIFT Gyms and Bierhoose, all sponsoring the side to boost its ability to spread the charity’s message far and wide.

Ewan McCorkindale, Director of Argyle Consulting said, “We have been involved with the Hearts+Balls seven since its inception. It is a fantastic initiative and we are very pleased to be the team’s main sponsor.”

Hearts+Balls chairman Kenny Hamilton has ambitious plans for the newly-formed side. He said: “The early trial of our sevens team has demonstrated a huge amount of potential. There’s a real appetite for the exciting brand of rugby they play and the message they promote on and off the pitch.

“Now, by teaming up with the Mighty Bovs, we can spread this message even further, entertain more people, raise more funds and ultimately, do more to help members of the rugby community who need our help. We want every single rugby player and supporter in this country to be aware of and engaged with our charity. I see no reason not to set our sights on, one day, performing in what I believe is the most iconic tournament in world rugby, Melrose Sevens.”

Euan Bowen, captain of the Mighty Bovs, said: “We all love playing rugby. Now we get to play rugby while helping people who need our support. What could be better than that?

“We’re a talented side and some very impressive players have turned out for both Hearts+Balls and The Mighty Bovs. Together, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with. We want to have fun and play great rugby. We’re very fortunate to be able to do that, and that’s why we want to help spread the message far and wide that every single person involved with rugby in Scotland has the power to make a real impact on the lives of players and past players who are struggling.”

To find out more about Hearts+Balls, visit www.heartsandballs.org.uk.

RUGBY CHARITY ON TARGET TO RAISE MORE THAN £100K FOR INJURED PLAYERS IN 2019

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Hearts+Balls, a charity which provides support for injured rugby players, will host a celebration at Balgray Playing Fields on 29 June to thank players, clubs, businesses and supporters for raising more than £50,000 already this year.

But the charity refuses to rest on its laurels. After an incredible six months of fundraising, Hearts + Balls has challenged the rugby community to surpass £100,000 of fundraising for the year.

Stuart Hogg kickstarted the campaign – literally – by gifting his time at his hometown club Hawick. The Scotland full-back donated an afternoon of kicking lessons at his old stomping ground, which provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young rugby players to get pointers from one of the best in the business, in return for a donation.

Hogg himself had an ignominious end to his Glasgow Warriors career when a controversial tackle from Rob Kearney crocked him in last month’s PRO14 final. This is just one reason the new Exeter Chiefs star appreciates the need for financial help for those who have left the game but still bear the scars of participation.

Hogg is not the only one willing to throw his weight behind the campaign. In recent months clubs, businesses, players and fans have come together to raise more than £50k, all of which will be funnelled into helping Hearts+Balls fulfil its mission – to help members of the rugby community who need it most.

Former Scotland international and BBC broadcaster John Beattie, whose rugby career was cut short because of a knee injury, will provide the entertainment for the night as he turns up with his band.

Hearts + Balls ambassador Jim Taylor, who was paralysed after he suffered a broken neck when a scrummage collapsed in a game in 1978 against Old Aloysians, said: “The support the charity gives to injured players is absolutely lifechanging, I can speak from experience. On behalf of the charity, I would like to say a huge thanks to every single person who has donated, rowed, ran or done anything whatsoever to support. Their efforts will inspire us to surpass six figures this year – knowing our supporters, I wouldn’t bet against us!

“Last year’s event, which marked 40 years since my injury, was a tremendous success and I can’t wait to catch-up with everyone as we welcome back supporters to Balgray for the second time.”

Some astonishing fundraising tales have emerged from the first half of the year. Gordon Hollerin (62), a GHK committee member, raised more than £7,000 by running the London Marathon for the charity and donations from the Glasgow Warriors annual dinner raised more than £15,000.

Elsewhere, GHK rugby club, surpassed £20,000 of funds raised for the charity in recent years with a further £4,000 raised during its annual dinner, the Sportsman’s charity raised £13k from its dinner and a successful event at the Jam House in Edinburgh, hosted by former Scotland captain and current Hearts + Balls board member Al Kellock, raised nearly £5,000 for the charity.

The Mighty Bovs, an invitational sevens side further boosted the fundraising total with a 24 hour spin cycle which raised more than £4k, while Hearts+Balls’ own invitational sevens side celebrated incredible success both on and off the pitch by winning the Mull sevens in May and raising £7,000 themselves.

More donations came in from Helensburgh and Hyndland rugby club, while the business also contributed with Argyle Consulting donating £5,000.

Tickets for the Hearts+Balls festival at Kelvinside Academy’s Balgray Playing Fields are available through Eventbrite and are priced at £25 per head but are just £20 for the under-25s. All tickets include food and entertainment with all profit going towards the initiative to support former players who suffer the debilitating ill-effects of lasting injury.

The event has received support from architectural and design company HOKO, marketing agency BIG Partnership and Harper Macleod, an award winning & leading independent Scottish commercial & personal law firm with offices throughout Scotland.

THE HEARTS + BALLS FESTIVAL

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Jim Taylor MBE is one of the most well known and well loved members of Glasgow’s rugby community.

In 1978, Jim broke his neck when a rugby scrummage collapsed. At the time, he was playing against Old Aloysians for his former pupils rugby team, Kelvinside Academicals.

Last year, Jim threw a party to thank the rugby community for standing by him and showing its support for all these years.

It was such a success that he’s doing it again this year!

The Hearts+Balls Festival returns to Kelvinside Academy’s Balgray Playing Fields on June 29, 2019.

Music will be provided by rugby legend John Beattie’s band.

Tickets are £25 (20 for under 25s) and tickets include food and entertainment. All profits will help rugby “help its own”.

There will be no other collections on the night.

Get your tickets for our annual event here

SCOTLAND AND WALES FANS COME TOGETHER TO RAISE ALMOST £4K FOR HEARTS + BALLS

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Hearts + Balls well returned to the Jam House in spectacular style for its first fundraising event of the year.

The Retrophones and The Prov. Johnstone Band put on a great show for all to enjoy, and a surprise appearance by the entire Scotland team was the cherry on top of a fantastic night.

In total, £3915 was raised for the charity. Thanks to everyone who came along and supported – keep your eyes peeled and ears open for our return next year!

Gordon and Jim Won’t Take Marathon Challenge Sitting Down

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Old friends clock up the miles ahead of charity showdown in April to raise funds for Hearts + Balls

Despite being paralysed from the chest down, Jim Taylor is taking on a marathon challenge to spur on his friend ahead of his own 26.2-mile charity odyssey.

While Gordon Hollerin is preparing to run the London marathon, 63-year-old Jim is getting set to match him mile for mile on an arm exerciser.

On April 28th, from his home in Bearsden as he watches Gordon race on TV, Jim will vigorously cycle his arms for 26 miles to try to beat Gordon’s time on the road.

Both competitors will take on their respective challenges for Hearts + Balls, a charity which supports rugby players and their families in times of need.

It’s been five years since Gordon’s last marathon – but the extra push from his friend is providing all the encouragement he needs during a gruelling 17-week training process, and on race day itself.

The 61-year-old from Newton Mearns, who is GHK rugby club’s secretary, said: “Jim’s the most inspiring person I know, so my main focus will be to make sure I don’t let him down. I certainly faced my own fair share of injuries during my more than 30 years of playing rugby, but I’m incredibly lucky to be in a position that I’m able to run a marathon, even if I’m unlikely to break any records!

“Hearts+Balls is a wonderful charity which supports those who aren’t so lucky. While very few suffer life changing injuries, it’s testament to the rugby community that when someone does, everyone pulls together. The London marathon is definitely one for my bucket list and it will make it all the more unforgettable an experience that I will raise money for a charity very close to my heart as I run.”

Gordon, an insolvency lawyer for Scottish law firm Harper Macleod, is currently training five times a week, with his mileage already up at 16 miles, while Jim, a Hearts + Balls ambassador, is also putting in the hard yards on the road roller which he received from the charity to help him be more active.

At age 23 Jim’s rugby playing career was tragically cut short after an injury he suffered while playing for Kelvinside Academicals left him paralysed.

The Glasgow Warriors partnerships manager said: “The charity has supported my family and I in so many ways over the years, and the recent donation of a road roller has been life changing. I’m really enjoying the training and building my fitness back up – it certainly helps to have a goal in mind. Think my training is way behind Gordon’s though!!

“My wife thinks I’m daft but I’ll never back down from a challenge! Although he’s my rival for now, I’m incredibly grateful to Gordon, and all those who make the effort to fundraise for a charity which has given me so much. Any donations will make a huge difference to members of the rugby community during their times of need.”

To donate to Jim and Gordon’s charity competition, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GordonHollerin1

 

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!”