International rugby player inspires students at Risedale College

Year 8 girls rugby training session with, left, Tamara Taylor and Selina Brierley, right.

England international rugby player Tamara Taylor this week visited Risedale Sports & Community College to give an inspirational talk to Year 8 students.

The morning began with Tamara speaking to both Year 8 boys and girls in the hall accompanied by a presentation of photos and videos where she spoke about her achievements in rugby and her upcoming challenge to Everest.

Tamara spoke to the students about breaking down gender stereotypes in sport, especially rugby.

She talked about how she became interested in rugby as a child.

She said that by having the confidence to follow her dreams, this led to many opportunities such as travelling the world, inspiring future sports stars and meeting her heroes.

She also spoke about the reality of international rugby; fitness regimes, injury, doubt and the importance of mental as well as physical strength.

Tamara said to the students: “Challenge stereotypes, do what you love and be inspired.”

“When things go wrong, get back up and try again.”

“Find your next challenge, be better and grow as people.”

Tamara also said how much rugby has changed in recent years; notably as women’s rugby is now a professional sport at an elite level and for the players this is their full-time job.

She added: “Rugby is a great team sport inclusive of all shapes and sizes and abilities, so why not get involved.”

The second part of Tamara’s talk involved her telling the students about her upcoming adventure to Everest as part of The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge for Wooden Spoon – The Children’s Charity of Rugby.

In 2015, the Wooden Spoon Charity went to the North Pole and set a Guinness World Record for the northern most game of rugby ever.

In 2019 they’re going to Mount Everest to attempt to break two further world records.

The first is playing the highest game of full contact rugby and secondly the highest game of touch rugby in history all taking place at Advance Base Camp, 213001/6492m above sea level. Tamara is part of the 27-strong team.

Wooden Spoon is a charity that helps to change the lives of children and young people with disabilities or facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland.

The team leave for Everest on 13th April and hope to raise over £200,000 for Wooden Spoon with their fundraising challenge.

After the talk Tamara took two rugby training sessions for some of the students during their PE lessons.

Year 8 student Kayleigh Metcalf said: “Tamara was great. I’d really like to join Richmond Ladies Rugby Club now.”

Head of PE at Risedale, Selina Brierley said: “It was such a great honour to have England Rugby Player Tamara Taylor here with us at Risedale; she was a huge inspiration for all the Year 8’s who met her and in particular the girls she taught Rugby to.

“Thank you Tamara and good luck with your Guinness World Records attempts at Mount Everest Advance Base Camp.”

Selina added: “We’re already making plans to organise a charity event here at Risedale to raise money for Tamara and the Wooden Spoon Charity.

“The students are buzzing.”