On Wednesday evening Cressbrook hosted Old Cressbrookian and the Chairman of World Rugby, Bill Beaumont CBE.
Bill boasts truly impeccable rugby credentials He was regarded as an absolute stalwart at Fylde Rugby Club where he played for 13 years. In addition, he played for and captained both his country and the British Lions.
In 1977, Bill represented the British Lions in New Zealand and played in three tests. In 1980 he captained the British Lions tour to South Africa playing in 10 of their 18 matches. In total, Bill earned 34 caps for his country. And, in 1980, Bill’s England team defied the odds and secured a coveted Grand Slam (England’s first in 23 years). In 1982, multiple concussions forced Bill’s retirement from rugby.
Since 1999 Bill has represented England on the International Rugby Board. He was the tour manager for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. In July 2012, Bill became Chairman of the Rugby Football Union and, in 2016, Bill was unanimously elected to Chairman of World Rugby.
Bill’s talk covered both the amateur and professional eras. Recurring themes were the importance that he attaches to charity (Honorary President Wooden Spoon); the development of women’s rugby and his absolute commitment to grassroots rugby (Fylde Rugby Club and the retention and the meaningful renumeration of Pacific Island players).
After the talk Head of Cressbrook, Thomas Mullins presented Bill with a framed Cressbrook rugby shirt; a Cressbrook tie and a copy of ‘A Thread of Gold’. We then retired to the Main Dining Room where 130 (I was originally told no more than 100!) Old Cressbrookians and friends dined and enjoyed one another’s company.
Warren Sharples and his immensely talented team produced a dinner that was nothing short of outstanding. The courses were:
Duck and black cherry terrine, pickled vegetables and a toasted brioche
Roasted guinea fowl breast with Champ croquet and braised red cabbage
Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel and vanilla bean ice cream
The tables were beautifully organised and arranged by Mrs Newman with flowers in sport trophies (a lovely touch) and seats individually named.
The prayer was said by Deputy Head of Cressbrook, Luke Atkinson.
Our Headmaster, Mr Newman closed the evening with a fitting tribute to our guest speaker, Bill Beaumont. He then gave generous and deserved thanks to Warren and his team and, finally, summoned Lukas Mameniski to the high table where Bill Beaumont presented Lukas with a signed rugby ball. As Lukas returned to his seat the entire room sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him – a perfect way to finish off a truly memorable evening.
Dinner with Bill Beaumont CBE
The central table epitomised the adage that ‘rugby is a gentleman’s game’