Not for Profit

Published: May 15, 2022 | Updated: May 15, 2022

Charity beach rugby world record attempt over 34 hours has already raised more than £35,000

The Sandbaggers team which will be mounting a 34-hour world record attempt at Branksome Dene beach in Poole.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A beach touch rugby team aiming to break the Guinness world record for the longest continuous game has already raised more than £35,000 for charity.

The 22 players – six per side plus five substitutes – will begin their epic rugby record attempt on the sand at Branksome Dene beach, Poole, next Friday, May 20, at 8am.

They hope to still be on their feet playing at 6pm the following day, Saturday.

The Sandbaggers – a social team set up in 2008 by a group of GPs, anaesthetists and surgeons – are raising money for two Motor Neurone Disease (MND) charities.

It’s in support of their teammate Andrew Vaughton, a local doctor and father-of-three, who was diagnosed with the devastating and incurable disease last year.

MND is a terminal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

It can leave people locked in a failing body unable to move, talk and eventually breathe.

The disease kills six people every day in the UK, a third within 12 months of diagnosis and more than half within two years.

It currently has no cure.

Andrew, 44, who will be playing in the record attempt, said: “Motor Neurone Disease turned my whole world – and that of my family – upside down.

“The Sandbaggers gave me a space to feel normal, helped me navigate through some very dark times and finally find my old self again.

“I will never forget the support and love from the group during those early days from diagnosis.

“With the support of everyone we have looked at ways of raising awareness and much-needed money to support research and care around MND.

“This is why we came up with the idea of the world record attempt.”

The record currently stands at 33 hrs and 33 minutes and is held by Hoylake Rugby Club.

Sibbett Gregory, the Poole-based commercial property agent, has made a charitable donation and is providing financial support to assist the running of the event.

Alastair Knott, Sibbett Gregory’s Head of Agency, pictured left,  is also part of the Sandbaggers team and will be playing throughout the planned 34 hrs.

Other staff members have also volunteered to help throughout the two days and night.

The Sandbaggers have so far raised more than £35,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – nearly seven times their original fundraising target.

Various local companies have also made additional corporate donations to the charities in support of the event.

Alastair said: “It’s fantastic that Sibbett Gregory have enthusiastically supported this event which will raise much needed funds for two very worthy charities.

“The players have been training hard and we’re looking forward to running out on the sand in support of our good friend Andy.

“There are strict rules about what we can and can’t do during the record attempt.

“We’ll be playing through the night and when we’re not on the pitch we will grabbing some sleep on the sand or trying to refuel and avoid cramping up or getting injured.”

Donations can be made through justgiving.com/team/SandbaggersRFC

Former Scotland and British Lions star Doddie Weir is also suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.

The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation has two aims: to raise funds for research into the causes of MND/investigate potential cures and also to make grants to sufferers of MND and enable them to live as fulfilled a life as possible.