It’s only three days to the WillPower Fest at Oulton Raiders, which will raise funds for the Candlelighters charity.
Long-serving player Andy Williamson is one of the many folk who are working hard, with organiser Sasch Brook, to make the event, which has been arranged following Candlelighters’ superb support of youngster William Coley and his family, a success.
Williamson spoke to the Raiders on the background…
OR: Thanks for taking time out Andy. You have played a tremendous role in the full preparation of the WillPower Rugby Fest, how do you see the day going?
AW: We all know the weather can play a big part on events like this so I’m praying for it to be dry for starters. A lot of planning and preparation has gone into it by a lot of people and there are lots of volunteers to help out on the day so hopefully all will run smoothly and an enjoyable day will be bad by all.
OR: What have you learnt about William and the Candlelighters Charity over the past six months or so?
AW: I knew the Candlelighters Charity did great things but it wasn’t until we had the event launch night a few weeks ago when Justin (William’s dad) said a few words of how the Charity helped them out as a family that it really hit home the importance of what they do. It’s every family’s worst nightmare to go through what these guys have been through. After he finished talking I stood with a lump in my throat even more determined to make the even successful both in terms of enjoyment and raising funds.
OR: Many groups of people have played tremendous roles in the lead, in a sentence or two, please may you sum it up?
AW: The generosity and willingness to help from people has been phenomenal. Businesses, friends, family, Oulton Sports & Social club, and people from all other the world (literally) have supported today in different ways and it is massively appreciated.
OR: You’ve played a huge role in confirming the six Youth games ahead of the main clash at 3.00pm; please share your thoughts on these junior games?
AW: Big thanks go to Debbie Rush for her help with this one. It’s a tough task when it comes to changing rooms, kick off times and feeding the kids, etc after games but it’s all worth it. A big thank you to all teams coming to play and especially to the four junior teams travelling from Hull.
OR: What are your thoughts on the Raiders squad and coaching staff?
AW: It’ll be great to be back playing with some of the players from yesteryear once again under some of the club’s great coaches from the past.
OR: What are your thoughts on the NCL All Stars squad and coaching staff?
AW: The response we have had from players and coaches all other the country sticking their hand up to play has been brilliant. The squad and coaching staff is glittered with trophy winners and internationals from over the years in both the amateur and professional game so I expect a real tough but enjoyable game.
OR: Your son Harvey is playing for the Raiders Under 13s against West Hull, how’s he going on and off the field of play?
AW: All good mate thanks. Shooting up like they do and he thinks he’s 13 going on 30 like all kids this age. Then again my daughter Gabriella is 7 going on 70 so it’s just probably kids in general. He goes really well on the pitch when his head is on it and he keeps his attitude intact. When he doesn’t he might as well not be on the pitch. Looking forward to seeing my under 13s play what will be a tough, well drilled West Hull side.
OR: You, like the majority of those who will be at Raider Park, follow the game at all levels, what makes rugby league so special?
AW: The Community aspect of it I think. All levels engage with each other from top to bottom. I’m not one of these that dislike football, in fact I am a footy fan but I think the game can learn a lot from Rugby League in this aspect. Just look at the likes of Kelvin Skerrett, Ryan Hall and Lee Radford coming today to support and be involved with today’s event. The saying ‘one in, all in’ certainly rings true in all aspects of Rugby League.
OR: Do you have a message for those that are supporting the WillPower Rugby Fest in all capacities?
AW: Just a massive thank you. Every single person who turns up and a lot who are not here have helped in one way or another. We’ve had people asking to play, sponsor, help out, and the support has been awesome. Special mention to Sasch who has sent tonnes of messages / emails and attended meetings over the last few months to get people involved and helping out and it has certainly worked. Great work mate.
OR: All the best for the main game at 3.00pm and ensure you’re ready for some quiet refreshments afterwards mate.
AW: Looking forward to it.
The Willpower Rugby Festival takes place at Oulton Raiders on Sunday 2 July. Gates open at 11.00am and festivities will draw to a close at around 10.30pm.