Angus Thomson lives in Brisbane, but is an avid follower of Scottish Rugby, including the National team. Angus makes regular trips back to his hometown of Montrose to visit his mother and catch up with school and rugby mates.
For the Rugby World Cup ’23, Angus created a “Road to France” (RTF) group on Facebook. His aim was to create a Community for Scotland fans travelling to France, and at the same time to raise funds for not one, but three Scottish Rugby charities: Hearts and Balls (H+B), My Name’5 Doddie (MND) and Murrayfield Injured Players Fund (MIPF).
Fundraising started in ‘22 through Angus’ connections in the Caribbean, where he has coached extensively. The unions of the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands auctioned signed jerseys at their dinners with part of the proceeds going to support local development and the rest to the Road to France. This was followed by joint fundraising in early ‘23 with RFU Belize where Angus was coaching at the time.
Once word got out, the RTF Facebook group quickly grew to 8,000 members and Angus used this channel to sell unique RFT flags based on the Scottish Saltire with all three charities logos.
Fundraising grew exponentially once supporters arrived in France in Sep’23 for the Scotland games. Angus utilised his huge network to acquire Scotland and Lions signed strips, signed rugby balls, etc which were auctioned or raffled prior to every game.
With the assistance of Tennent Caledonian Brewery in Marseille, Lille and Paris and BrewDog in Nice, fan events were held on the night before and pre-match for Scotland’s games in bars and local rugby clubs that became the Scottish Embassies in each city.
With the final collections coming in, Angus and his RTF team are on track to raise a five-figure sum.
On behalf of Hearts and Balls, a massive thank you Angus as these funds will make a material difference to the lives of rugby players and their families.