On Friday 11th September, Bath Rugby will host a very special Afternoon Tea with Mary Berry and Richard Bertinet at Farleigh House as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations.
Mrs Berry, Britain's most beloved baker, was born and raised in Bath and regularly returns to visit friends and family. Importantly, she also ensures she gets the opportunity to take in a match or two at the Rec.
Some of Mary's favourite memories from her childhood are going to watch the men in Blue, Black and White together with her family. "I used to go with my brother, my mother Margaret and my cousin, Robin Buchanan," she remembers fondly.
Indeed, the Berry family is synonymous with Bath in many ways: Mary's father served as Mayor of Bath in 1952, whilst her late brother, Roger, a popular figure, devoted large parts of his life to assisting in the smooth running of the Club.
One fixture in particular is pencilled in the Berry Diary every season. "My husband, Paul, used to play for Saracens," she says, "so we love to watch that game whenever we can."
When asked if she has any baking recipes for the calorie-counting professional rugby players of today, Mary gives the question short shrift: "Blow the health-conscious and enjoy a piece of Lemon Drizzle Cake!"
As for her own ultimate venue for a spot of afternoon tea, that would be a picnic tea by the river weir at Freshford – just a stone's throw from Bath Rugby's training base at Farleigh House.
The Afternoon Tea event at Farleigh will also see three teams comprising Bath Rugby players past and present competing in a baking challenge. They are: Duncan Bell and Chris Cook (Team One); John Hall and Stuart Hooper (Team Two); and Lee Mears and Matt Banahan (Team Three). The competition will be judged by renowned Bath-based French chef Rich Bertinet.
Who does Mary see emerging victorious from that triumvirate? "Team Three, I hope, since my husband had the privilege of playing golf with Lee Mears at Sunningdale."
Tickets for Bath Rugby's 150 anniversary Afternoon Tea event with Mary Berry and Richard Bertinet cost £75 and can be booked by calling the Hospitality Team on 01225 325200 option 2.