Ashton shines for ‘Big Walt’ as memorial match is a huge success
Tuesday 8th August 2017 @ 11:10 by Mark Phillip

Ashton Rugby Club held its annual family fun day last weekend in memory of club player Walter Blomeley

Known to most as ‘Big Walt’, the Ashton stalwart sadly passed away in 2012 after losing his battle with cancer, spending his final days at Willow Wood Hospice.

With Willow Wood close to the family and friends’ hearts, his son’s Gareth and Simon have wanted to create a legacy for him, so have held a charity game each August in his name, helping to raise vital funds for the Hospice.

Big Walt was a long-time member at Ashton Rugby Club, enjoying a playing career which spanned over 35 years, so was known to many in the local amateur leagues of rugby union, and in the rugby community in general.

With the help and support from the club, local players, volunteers, friends and family, as well as the the rugby community,  the event has generated over £3,500 in the last 5 years, with £500 being raised at this year’s event.

The featured match has now become an annual event at Ashton rugby club where they look to help raise even more funds in the future.


For those wishing to take part in the future, the rugby union game is made up of current and former players both young and old, friends of Walt playing in his memory, players from other local clubs and players new to the game. The players are then mixed into 2 teams of mixed ability which are picked and captained by both Gareth and Simon.

Reflecting on the day, a club spokesperson said: “The memorial game has always been around bringing players together with family and friends, and introducing rugby to those that are new to the sport, with a family fun day environment.

“And after the volume of children we’ve had coming down over the years wanting to take part, it has been a great opportunity to expand out this year to the juniors, marking our 1st junior tag charity game, held with children from Ashton’s Tiny tacklers, with a few new players to the sport.

“Gareth and Simon wanted to thank everyone who has helped support the event over the years, and encourage anyone looking to get into rugby at both Junior & Senior level and have asked those interested to contact the coaches who are always welcoming new players”.

For more information please contact the club on their official Facebook page at: Ashton Under Lyne RFC.

Alternatively, you can phone 0161 330 1361

By Simon Bromeley

Pictures: Matthew Lofthouse