Anniversaries are an important part of life. They remind us of something that matters. A chance to reflect, come together, remember and to celebrate.
And celebrate and remember is what we did last Wednesday, at the Legends of Rugby Dinner in aid of Nordoff Robbins which took place at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House and honour the career of women’s rugby hero, Tamara Taylor. Just as anniversaries are a moment to reflect and commemorate, it’s also a moment to commence new traditions. And this is what we did by honouring a female player for the first time.
The dinner was founded 25 years ago by myself and Willie Robertson, the then Vice Chairman of Nordoff Robbins. We wanted to create an evening where music and rugby came together. In recognition of this aim, last week’s dinner was opened by Bath winger and former Celebrity X Factor contestant Levi Davis. He was the perfect embodiment of rugby and music and his performance was fabulous – setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
Martin Bayfield hosted the event, taking our guests on a journey of laughs, fundraising, memories and merriment. Many of the previous honourees were also in the room including Lawrence Dallaglio, Andy Gomarsall, Matt Perry and Charlie Hodgson. Many female rugby icons were also in attendance to show support and share stories of Tamara, including Maggie Alphonsi, Catherine Spencer, Claire Purdy, Kat Merchant, Jill Burns and the list goes on.
Following the dinner and some very generous bidding on the auction, Kara Marni was next up. Hailed by Spotify as “as one of the UK’s most exciting new artists” Kara’s powerhouse vocals entertained the guests with a truly beautiful performance. We were so delighted that Kara was part of this special night.
The night ended with what has become a traditional part of the Legends of Rugby Dinner, a jolly good get up, singalong and shake your booty! The utterly dazzling and wonderful Bjorn Free took to the stage to perform into the small hours. It was a fitting ending to a night which marked 25 years of fundraising, raising awareness and vital funds for Nordoff Robbins and commemorating the careers and contributions of true rugby legends.
The anniversary and reflection would not be complete without a huge thanks to all the guests and companies who have attended the event year after year and shown their extraordinary support and generosity to rugby, music and Nordoff Robbins. We are enormously grateful. Thank you.
The 2021 dinner is set for Wednesday 20th January at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London – Join us to continue the party!
Here’s to the next 25 years!