Scottys Little Soldiers

May 31st will be a tough day at Leicester Tigers' Welford Road ground. In fact, it will be a tough 25 hours.

I'll explain why. My name's Alan Knell and event organiser for a Guiness Book of World Records attempt for the longest continuous game of rugby ever.

So long, in fact, it transends a 24-hour day. The event is for a charity which is very close to my heart called Scotty's Little Soldiers (SLS).
The Guiness record attempt at a 25hour rugby match will take place at Welford Road

The charity was set up by Nichola Scott in the name of Corporal Lee Scott, her husband who was killed in action in Aghanistan. Lee was known as Scotty and he used to call his son Kai his 'Little Soldier'. The charity provides treats, trips and activities for families of the fallen with the aim of offering some respite from the constant and painful emotions of coping with life without a loved one.

Personally, I spent nine years in the Royal Navy, the last of which I served in 2006. After leaving, I found I missed being part of a team and setting targets for myself. I ran marathons and looked for a charity which I could raise money for and I came across SLS. I ran a marathon for the charity and soon became involved with co-ordinating fund-raising.

As someone with a strong history in the Armed Forces and a lot of friends in the services, it made sense for me to support this charity. I lost a friend when he was blown up in Afghan with five other guys. He was just 20 years old and his daughter was born a month after his death. It is for families like that which this charity was made.

The world record rugby game idea has snowballed massively. It started with the idea of finding a local club with a nice clubhouse. Former Leicester Tigers and England lock Ben Kay is a Patron of the charity, and current Tigers player Louis Deacon chose it as one of the charities he would support with his benefit year, so we already had a good link with the club. We set up a meeting and Tigers have been brilliant and given us all the support we could have asked for, including use of their ground the game, which has obviously helped attract a few more players and more overall interest.

So, there it is - on May 31st, at the home of one of the biggest rugby union clubs in Europe, 44 blokes and friends will play full-contact, continuous rugby for 25 hours. It will kick off at 11am on the 31st and finish at noon on June 1st. According to Guiness World Records, for every hour played, the guys are entitled to five minutes' rest. It's not much, but I think the plan will probably be to play for something like four hours, so the boys can then have a 20-minute rest and smash some carbs before carrying on. 

It hasn't been hard to find people willing to play. I've actually stood aside myself so others can take part, which isn't the end of the world for me. I like my rugby but some of the boys who've signed up could probably break me in half! We've managed to get Bobby Goulding playing, the former England rugby league player who's now coaching the French national rugby league side. We're hoping to get some more big name players and visitors for the day, so watch this space for more on that.

We said to the boys if every one of them could raise £500 then we'd get £22,000, which would be incredible. Amazingly, we're already well on the way and have so far got £16,000. We've also struck a deal with Tesco for some of their stores to hold Scotty's Weekends. By the end it is a very real possibility we could raise near £100,000 which would be enough to buy a holiday home for the kids. To think one game of rugby is the catalyst for all that is just mindblowing.

We'll be having a party in the Premiership Suite at Welford Road afterwards and it will be a chance for the lads to let their hair down with a band, DJ and a pretty impressive auction but, again, I'll tell you more about that closer to the time.

I'm hoping that, through Living Rugby and Twitter, myself and some of the others involved will be able to give you an insight into how the event is being organised, some of the training the boys will be going through and other behind the scenes info.

To keep up-to-date with all our goings-on, follow us at Twitter: @Scottysrugby

We'll be blogging here on Living Rugby regularly, leading up to the game. Speak to you soon!


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