Friday 7 June 2019

John Wright wins Scottish Rugby Spirit of Rugby Award 2019

We are delighted to announce that John Wright's long and unstinting dedication to club rugby in Scotland was recognised at last week's Scottish Rugby Awards, when he was presented with the 2019 Spirit of Rugby Award.

John’s award recognised more than fifty years involvement with rugby – as a player, an administrator, an occasional referee, a photographer and one of the founders of BATs.

John’s rugby career began in his home city of Bradford (in case you were ever in doubt that John comes from Yorkshire!) and then London, before moving to Edinburgh with work. Over the past 45 years of service to Scottish club rugby John has been a stalwart at Edinburgh Accies, serving many roles:

  • Player, 1974-86
  • Various volunteer roles, 1986-present
  • Club President, 1996-98 and 2013-15
  • Club Secretary, 2007-present

John was also a driving force behind the establishment of BATs and he continues to be central to the overall direction and day-to-day management, working with stakeholders across clubs and communities, as well as managing the team of three development officers and providing the leadership within the community rugby club. This covers all aspects of BATs, including work with:

  • 17 schools, delivering over 600 sessions of physical activity to young people and organising and coaching teams
  • 5 secondary schools, building life skills and rugby ability amongst 200+ young people from a range of social and economic backgrounds
  • More than 100 young people through our BATs programme of coaching and games
  • Activity groups of people with learning and physical challenges
  • Older people wishing to remain active in rugby
  • Young coaches and referees looking to build skills

The citation for John’s award included testimonials from players, parents, partners and former players, including this one from Edinburgh and Scotland flanker Hamish Watson:

“For me John Wright epitomises Edinburgh Accies. From the moment I got there he was President and did everything within his power to make sure I was welcome and felt part of such a great historic club. Great clubmen like John are the reason you want to play for a club. He would be there every single game and of course would be capturing every single important moment on his famous camera. He would do anything for the club and, more importantly, the players. I would like to thank John for playing his part in getting me to Edinburgh Accies and always making it feel like home.”

One of BATs main aims is to keep players involved as they transition into the adult game and John’s commitment to and support of BATs players has been instrumental in our success in that area. So far, BATs have delivered over 50 players playing adult rugby who would not have entered the game without BATs – that’s the equivalent of three teams that exist because of John’s work. Over and above this BATs have also delivered players who total:

  • 40 International caps
  • 39 World 7s Series caps
  • 110 U20s International caps
  • Rugby World Cup squad members
  • 2 World Cup 7s squad members
  • 1 Team Scotland Commonwealth Games athlete
  • Current Co-Captain of Scotland 7s

John is indisputably the glue that holds both Accies and BATs together and we are absolutely delighted that Scottish Rugby have chosen to honour him with this much-deserved award.


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