Volunteers get set for the World Cup

Meet The Pack
Meet The Pack

Four thousand volunteers were at stadium:mk on Saturday as they prepared for the Rugby World Cup later this year.

The Pack, as they are now known, will help ensure everything runs smoothly when the third biggest sporting event in the world comes to England and Wales in September.

Meet The Pack

Meet The Pack

Milton Keynes will host three matches at stadium:mk, as well as an official fans park in Campbell Park.

The event on Saturday is the only time the volunteers will all be in one place together before city to city training begins next month.

Two Rugby World Cup winners, Will Greenwood and Maggie Alphonsi, also joined the day and unveiled the volunteer uniform alongside members of The Pack.

Deric Newman, from Tring, volunteered to be a member of The Pack and will be working in and around stadium:mk during the three games.

The 42-year-old first got into volunteering when his brother-in-law took him to his local rugby club’s AGM, and took on a volunteer role as the club’s press secretary.

He hasn’t looked back since and has gone on to help in other areas such as club administration and, more recently, manager of the 1st XV, helping to steer the club to four promotions over the course of five seasons.

“Once volunteering is in your blood you can’t stop,” explained Deric.

“It’s very fulfilling to see all the benefits that the work of volunteers can bring to a club and its members, from getting a chance to see children develop their game, enjoying the social side and the sense of community that you get from giving up your time to help others.

“You can’t underestimate the importance of volunteers - the game needs players and referees but it also needs volunteers.

“I’m expecting Rugby World Cup 2015 to deliver a really strong legacy for volunteers in this country.”

Deric is looking forward to seeing fans from around the world enjoy MK.

He said: “It’s going to be great to see so many people from all over the world in Milton Keynes.

“It’s a city that has come of age in recent years and is now a thriving, multicultural place.

“There are going to be six different teams playing at Stadium MK all of whom will be bringing their own flavour to the tournament and I’m fully expecting the city to adopt them.

“This is now a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the game’s biggest event.

“While Rugby World Cup may be the Holy Grail for players, it’s also the most important event for all the volunteers who give up their time week in week out to support their local rugby clubs.”