Haringey Rhinos nominated at National Rugby Awards

Helen Rayfield of Haringey Rhinos celebrates

Helen Rayfield of Haringey Rhinos celebrates - Credit: Archant

The new season has barely got started but already Haringey Rhinos Rugby Club have plenty to celebrate thanks to the National Rugby Awards.

The hard work and efforts of Helen Rayfield have seen them nominated in the Outstanding Contribution category of this year's star-studded event, with an awards ceremony set to take place at Twickenham Stadium tonight (Thursday).

Created to honour the achievements of every rugby club in the country, the National Rugby Awards recognise all those who contribute to rugby union in England

Committed coaches, passionate players and all those behind the scenes are set to be recognised at the home of rugby - with few personifying the spirit of the game quite like Rayfield.

A long-standing supporter of the Rhinos, she helped haul the club out of dark days when their facilities were sold off by the council and their clubhouse was closed. At one stage, Helen and a dedicated team of player-coaches had around 150 under-16s playing rugby in Tottenham, a football heartland.

Through adversity Helen stood strong, taking on the role of club chair and masterminding the relocation of the clubhouse from a room above a yoga studio to a new location in New River.

Just this season she secured and installed floodlights with the help of the RFU and local council, enabling midweek training.

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Helen's achievements have also caught the eye of rugby's elite, namely Harlequins back row Chris Robshaw.

The former England World Cup captain is an ambassador for the National Rugby Awards, impressed by the work that he believes is pivotal to the grassroots of the sport.

He said: "Volunteers are hugely important. Without them the clubhouses don't work, the games don't take place on a weekend and they're the cornerstone of what grassroots rugby is built upon.

"Volunteers probably don't get the appreciation they deserve, the people who have been there 25 years, every single weekend, most weeknights, they're so vital for the game.

"It's fantastic that there are so many people out there who are willing to help the next generation grow.

"Volunteers are happy, charismatic, good people. You don't get many volunteers that aren't good people - they light up wherever they are, they're the people that people remember and make a difference to individuals as the years pass."

*The National Rugby Awards recognises the outstanding work done by coaches, players and supporters across the country.

There is no other event which brings together the clubs and players from all the leagues in England, from grassroots to elite. See nationalrugbyawards.co.uk.