Team Durham aims to make rugby history to tackle Zambian AIDS crisis
(27 October 2004)
The 2004 BUSA (British University Sports Association) Champions Durham University will take on Nottingham University in a charity rugby match to help address the HIV / AIDS crisis in Zambia, the eighth poorest country in the world.
Team Durham and Durham University Charities Kommittee (DUCK) hope to attract up to 7,500 people to the match which will take place under the floodlights of Durham City Rugby Club at 7:00pm on Wednesday 3rd November.
Organisers hope to build on the success of last year’s event which attracted 5,000 spectators and raised £7,500 for EFDS (English Federation of Disability Sport). If the crowd reaches 7,500 it will make history as the largest crowd assembled for a community rugby match outside the Zurich Premiership.
The joint venture, sponsored by the financial services firm, Ernst & Young, will be the biggest student event Durham has ever seen, and aims to raise much needed funds to send sports equipment to Zambia.
Dr Peter Warburton, Director of Sport at the University of Durham, who earlier this year led the first ever national conference on sport and physical education in the capital city Lusaka said, “Of a population of 11m, of whom over 1.5m have the HIV / AIDS virus, sport is one of the only ways to pass their time other than taking drugs, drinking and engaging in sexual activities; yet their sports facilities are non existent.”
“During my visit a delegate told me before leaving, ‘remember children are children, the world over’, and that in short is why we must publicise and move an agenda forward from the North East, particularly in Durham, that will help the Zambians in their promotion of sport.”
In addition to raising money to send sports equipment to Zambia, Team Durham is looking to send old football or rugby kit that are no longer needed that by schools, clubs, universities and colleges, and would be gratefully accepted by a people, who in the main would never have the opportunity to wear such garments.
This would also allow Zambians to identify themselves as part as a team, a luxury which using Newcastle FC and Sunderland FC as examples from this region, this is something most football supporters take for granted.
Sir Kenneth Calman, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of the University of Durham, commented:”I am delighted to support this tremendous initiative by Team Durham and Durham University Charities Kommittee (DUCK). Last year was an enormous success, and I am sure that this year will be even better. The charity involved is a really important one, and I hope that everyone will turn out to support not only the teams, but the charity itself.”
Newcastle Falcons fly half and Durham graduate David Walder will be supporting the event and will be available for signing autographs.
The evening’s entertainment will be supported by a children’s tag rugby tournament before kick off, involving schools from the local Durham community, with a view to encouraging links between schools from the region and Zambia, at least on a correspondence basis.
It would also help to involve students from the University who might wish to visit Zambia to help the officers working in the field. It is hoped this, in addition to the Zambian Sports Minister agreeing to complete an MA at the University of Durham next year, will raise awareness firstly in the region, and then nationally.
Notes to Editors:
Team Durham is the University of Durham’s strategy for supporting sporting excellence. The aim of Team Durham is to:
- Establish the University of Durham as one of the top six sporting universities in Britain by 2005 (placed 5th in BUSA rankings 2002/03)
- Ensure that high-level performers are in a position to enter world-class and high-performance club programmes on leaving the University of Durham
- Provide an infrastructure that supports individuals of all abilities whilst studying at the University of Durham
- Further the development of sporting relationships with our partners locally, regionally and nationally.
For further information contact : Dan Lewis, Acting Director of Sport, University of Durham Tel 0191 334 2176.
Media enquiries to : Tom Fennelly, Public Relations, University of Durham, Tel 0191 334 6078 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.