BRITISH Lions and England Grand Slam-winning legend Bill Beaumont shared tales of mud, sweat and tears in top flight rugby with hundreds of businessmen when he visited Solihull.
Bill, who followed his glittering rugby career with a long spell as team captain in the BBC’s Question of Sport, enjoyed a first class meal as guest speaker at the Solihull Sporting Club dinner, at St John’s Hotel, which was attended by 300 West Midlands businessmen.
The event raised hundreds of pounds for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
It was also announced that more than £9,000 had recently been raised at sporting club events for Wooden Spoon, the official charity of British and Irish rugby union, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Bill is honorary president of Wooden Spoon.
The dinner was chaired by charity champion Phil Pemble, chairman of both the Solihull Sporting Club and Wooden Spoon’s West Midlands committee.
Phil, from Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, is PR manager at Birmingham-based Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) – a major supporter of Wooden Spoon for many years.
Phil has devoted many years to helping disabled and disadvantaged people and was recently hailed as one of the Prime Minister’s ‘Everyday Heroes’.
He said: “Bill’s a fantastic guy and it was great to hear his unique insight into the world of rugby in the 1970s and early 80s when he was captain of both England and the British Lions.”
Phil has raised more than £150,000 for Wooden Spoon.
He has championed Payroll Giving at PPDG where more than two-thirds of employees donate to charity each week and is a keen supporter of SPACE, a charity for Autistic children based in Chelmsley Wood.
Good causes supported by Wooden Spoon include the refurbishing of a playground at Reynald’s Cross School in Solihull.
The facility was officially opened in 2007 by The Princess Royal.
It was the second project in the borough, the first being the Triple Crown building at the entrance to Lode Heath School.
PPDG, one of the country’s leading providers of Government-funded Welfare to Work initiatives, works in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and other organisations to deliver employment and training initiatives to help disadvantaged job seekers find jobs.