Rugby making a difference for Reece

Thursday 25 May 2023 Written by: Adam

David Shotton, who is also the Inclusivity Manager at Newcastle Falcons, has been hugely impressed by the 17-year-old’s courage in adversity and the way he has battled through and is now one of the most positive and caring students, as he works towards becoming a rugby coach, with ambitions to work in the community with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Reece’s father and grandfather died within a week of each other just before his GCSEs started. He struggled through his exams but was in danger of losing himself, with no focus in his life.

Looking at various colleges, he discovered Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme for 14-24 years-olds at Newcastle College. This is designed to help young people find a better future and provides opportunities for them to fulfil their potential whatever their background or ability.

Says his coach David Shotton: “Reece is buzzing with life and always there for his classmates. He’s a lovely, positive kid and gets involved with everything. Hopefully, he’ll continue his coaching journey and complete his Level 3. He’s impressed by the impact he has seen rugby make and he’s a real asset to the sport.”

Reece, who lives with his Nana Marie in Consett, says: “Before meeting Dave and George and everyone at the Cast I had no interest in rugby at all. But over the months developing many skills within the Cast, I got speaking to Dave about maybe doing a rugby course. I’ve always wanted to coach, not just rugby but any sport. I love the thought of helping others reach their maximum potential in sports and life!

“Before meeting the Cast and volunteering at Newcastle Falcons. I wasn’t really confident in myself and I never thought I’d be here where I am today, now coaching Consett rugby club and also just completing my level 2 rugby coaching course.

“I love helping out at the rugby games at the Falcons. I especially loved the Red Roses game, the atmosphere was electric. and I can’t wait to continue my future working with the Cast, Newcastle Falcons and also coaching Consett rugby club. I will forever be grateful for my progress and I will always pay the love and support forward.”

Marie adds: “I think it’s rugby that’s given Reece a massive boost in confidence and also given him an interest in something I wasn’t keen about before. He seems a lot more mature but he still has a lot of fun and is a great grandson and person. And Reece Wray is my hero!”