Popular Bath Rugby Foundation volunteer Tom Clifford has been shortlisted for the Premiership Rugby BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award.
The Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards 2018 take place at the House of Commons next month, with a specially-selected panel picking the recipient of the BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award, which recognises participants who have excelled in any education, health or social inclusion programme.
Tom has been shortlisted alongside representatives from Newcastle Falcons and Wasps, with the winner being announced on Wednesday 11th July.
He first encountered the Bath Rugby Foundation staff over two years ago at a Friday night match at The Rec. Tom was attending the game with his daughter and at the time he was walking with the aid of a walking stick. When the Foundation coaches told him about Move Like A Pro he was very interested and then went on to attend the session.
Fast forward two years and Tom’s health has improved dramatically, thanks to Move Like A Pro. In his own words: "I feel a whole lot better on the inside and the numbers prove it!
“In the two years between assessments I have lost 1.5 stones in weight and 7cm from around my middle. My blood sugar is normal - I’m diabetic; my diastolic blood pressure is normal; my lung capacity has increased and my good cholesterol is up."
Tom continues to play with the Bath Spartans, a touch rugby team created by the men who took part in Move Like A Pro as well as volunteering with Bath Rugby Foundation’s Mixed Ability team, the Walcot Warriors.
“I am proud of him because he suffered a stroke nearly 4 years ago and since then he has had problems with his mobility and he used to have walk with a stick so this is a massive achievement for my Dad," said Tom's daughter Carenza, who sees a constant improvement at home.
"I am so proud to call him my Dad. He is much more active and enjoys keeping fit which he never used to. Socially, Dad has truly made friends for life in the Move Like A Pro guys. Thank you will never be enough!”
Every year hundreds of people up and down the country give their time to help run Premiership Rugby initiatives such as – but not limited to – Aviva Tackling Numbers, HITZ, Project Rugby and Move Like A Pro.
From going the extra mile to help youngsters in the local area, to helping more girls and women get into the game, these ground-breaking schemes all seek to help the community reach new heights both on and off the rugby pitch.
One of the award’s judges, Greggs Foundation Manager Tracy Lynch was amazed at the inspirational stories that were submitted, with the three shortlisted all more than deserving of the prestigious award.
She said: “It is fabulous to see the commitment made to support so many people in the direct and wider community of all the Premiership Rugby clubs.
“I hadn’t realised the connection to the grassroot-level clubs and it makes it all the more accessible to everyone when you can take part in programmes just around the corner.
“I always think rugby is a great leveller – all shapes and sizes play (and watch) so that makes it seem more accessible for everyone to take part.”
Shortlist for BREAKTHRU Achiever of the Year award:
Tom Clifford of Bath Rugby*
John Mew of Newcastle Falcons
Michael Corney of Wasps
***The Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards 2018 take place at the Terrace Pavilion, House of Commons on Wednesday 11 July. Follow the news via Twitter on the @premrugby account and use the hashtag #RugbyChangingLives to join the conversation.