Cardiff hosted the Golden Oldies Festival In August with 1500 ‘aging’ rugby players & their families from all over the world converging on the city for a week of ‘friendship fraternity & fun’.
Teams from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, Canada,Brazil,Argentina, Italy, Spain,Germany, UK, Ireland & Russia brought colour & spectacle in abundance both on & off the pitch – all in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s & even 80s.
Organisers VSL generously nominated Wooden Spoon as their charity for the week’s events starting with a spectacular opening ceremony on the Principality Stadium on Sunday, officially opened by the world’s top referee Nigel Owens.
Nigel also officiated at the successful GWR scrum attempt on Wednesday that saw 1297 people in one scrum!
The games were played at Cardiff University Playing Fields on Monday, Wednesday & Friday with a carnival atmosphere, particularly on the final day, bathed in glorious sunshine.
BBC Wales presenter Phil Steele brought his own brand of humour to the week’s events including a Q & A session with J P R Williams & Adrian Hadley at the Celebrate Wales day at St David’s Hall on Tuesday, as well as the opening & closing ceremonies.
The festival concluded on Saturday with a Gala dinner on the Principality Stadium pitch with Wales legend Clive Rowlands entertaining the Golden Oldies with his inspirational stories & motivational ‘ball coming in now’ routine.
Phil Steele invited to the stage 11 octogenarians who had made the trip & in most cases played a part on the field during the week.
Huw Thomas Chairman of Wooden Spoon in Wales said he was very proud of the efforts of the small team of Wooden Spoon volunteers, who thanks to the amazing generosity of VSL & the Golden Oldies visitors had raised £30,000 for the charity.
The next Golden Oldies event takes place in Christchurch in 2018.