Jamie Armstrong scoops World Rugby Award

Scottish Rugby has joined the global congratulations for Jamie Armstrong, founder of Trust Rugby International, on his ‘Spirit of Rugby Award’ during last week’s World Rugby’s Awards evening in Monaco.

Armstrong is the founder of ‘The Clan’, who participate in “unified rugby”- where players with a disability train and play in the same team as non-disabled players, promoting equality, diversity and social inclusion through participation in the game.

“It is overwhelming and grounding at the same time.” Armstrong commented.

“It is overwhelming in the sense that everything we have done at Tri is a testament to a lot of people working together, not just me. It is also grounding to witness the appreciation of the significant work tri has been doing since 2010.” He added.

‘The Clan’ centres have been set up by Jamie and volunteers at various locations around the country – originating in Kilmarnock, but now also in Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, Edinburgh, Fife, Aberdeenshire and the Borders.

Scottish Rugby has enjoyed a partnership with The Clan for the past three years and contributes funding to enable staff to grow the programme.

Jamie reflected on the experience of the World Rugby Awards in Monaco said:, ‘It was a whirlwind experience; out and back within 24 hours! It was a lovely, warm surprise and welcome by everybody from Dove Men Care, the sponsor of the award.’

With all the big names in attendance on the evening, one of Jamie’s most memorable experiences in Monaco was meeting a Scottish Rugby legend, John Jeffrey, “His words of encouragement to keep going, because things of value in rugby take time to develop,” struck a cord with Armstrong. 

He continued, “If we look at what we are doing in Scotland with unified rugby, rugby exemplifies unification of people. Rugby allows all abilities to work together to reach the try line. Simply by passing the ball between every player and giving them the encouragement to have a go.” 

Armstrong is quick to state that this recognition isn’t just about his efforts, paying tribute to those who have been pivotal in his journey to Monaco. “There are a lot of people who have been involved with Tri since we started, in particular the three stand-outs are Doctor Helen Lynn, Joanne Robertson and Stephen Main.”

“Helen Lynn sadly passed away this year too early in her life, and she was the driving force behind starting The Clan in Scotland. She was clinical director for learning disability services in NHS Ayrshire & Arran.”

“Between her and Joanne Robertson, they gave me the encouragement to develop unified rugby in Scotland and they supported me for the last eight years to keep going even when I was meeting some brick walls. Also, Stephen Main for all his work for the past four years, not only as a development coach but as the head coach of the national clan.”

“Without his support, I would not have been able to juggle so many rugby balls at any one time.”

You can find out more about Tri: http://trustrugby.org

Watch Jamie’s Interview at the World Rugby Awards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VshIyKQapE