Dinner and auction boosts pitch purchase scheme

Ben Kay, Rory Underwood, Chris Farmer, Spencer Dauphin, Martin Johnson, Kelsa Dauphin and Matt Poole at Banbury Rugby Union Football Club dinner and auction. Picture: Steven Prouse/KBO Photography
Ben Kay, Rory Underwood, Chris Farmer, Spencer Dauphin, Martin Johnson, Kelsa Dauphin and Matt Poole at Banbury Rugby Union Football Club dinner and auction. Picture: Steven Prouse/KBO Photography

Some of the biggest names in British and Irish rugby were in Banbury to support the town’s club.

Martin Johnson, Ben Kay and Rory Underwood joined members and supporters of Banbury Rugby Union Football Club for a dinner and auction of promises on Saturday, July 2.

MirrorSphere MD Spencer Dauphin, Martin Johnson CBE and guests at Banbury Rugby Union Football Club dinner and auction.  Picture: Steven Prouse/KBO Photography

MirrorSphere MD Spencer Dauphin, Martin Johnson CBE and guests at Banbury Rugby Union Football Club dinner and auction. Picture: Steven Prouse/KBO Photography

The event, held at the club, was hosted by Leicester Tigers lock Matt Poole and raised more than £20,000 towards buying the freehold to its rugby pitches to secure them for future generations.

The sports stars mingled with the 300 guests as attendees placed bids on items such as a Renault Sport Formula 1 factory tour, a Hook Norton beer brewing experience and a tour of Prodrive’s Banbury headquarters.

Banbury Rugby Club president Mark Boland said: “Our Lions dinner and auction was, quite simply, an outstanding success.

“The three Lions, led by Matt Poole, entertained from start to finish with hilarious inside stories from their extraordinary rugby careers.

“Of course the biggest thank you should go to the 300 people attending and their incredible generosity - the event has raised over £20,000 towards our purchase of the rugby pitches.”

Sharing a table with former England captain Martin Johnson was Spencer Dauphin, managing director of Bloxham-based IT company MirrorSphere, the event’s main sponsor.

He said: “It was a real honour to chat to one of the country’s best known sports stars. He is a very down-to-earth person with a passion for supporting grass roots rugby.

“We are delighted to have sponsored and taken part in such a fantastic event which raised much needed funds for Banbury Rugby Club.”

Mr Boland added: “There are so many people to thank but a special mention must go to Spencer Dauphin and MirrorSphere for their generous sponsorship which allowed us to stage such a professional event.”