When Willie John Came to Lunch

FYLDE Rugby hosted a Wooden Spoon Lancashire lunch on Friday 22 March 2019. The audience of more than 220 individuals was treated to a great afternoon of rugby stories, banter and sheer entertainment.

Martin Long, Chairman of Wooden Spoon Lancashire, opened the afternoon’s event, introducing those at lunch to an explanation of Wooden Spoon, including a short video, and an update on the activities of the Lancashire region which has raised more than £600,000 in the last ten years. Martin then passed proceedings to John Bentley, England and British Lions, to warm up the fortunate attendees. John, president of Wooden Spoon Yorkshire was, as ever, very highly entertaining.

Left to right, Sir Bill Beaumont CBE DL, John Spencer, Martin Long (Chairman Wooden Spoon Lancashire), Willie John McBride CBE, Malcolm Phillips, Mark Cadley (Wooden Spoon Lancashire and Fylde RFC organiser) and John Bentley.

Our guest speaker was Willie John McBride CBE, Ireland and British Lions, who gave an excellent rendition of his career, both in Irish Rugby and as a British Lion. His explanation as to the origin of the “99” call was most informative, and during his whole speech the audience showed total respect and were spellbound by his stories.

Other guests present during the afternoon were Sir Bill Beaumont, President of Wooden Spoon Lancashire, John Spencer, current Chairman of Wharfedale Rugby Club, and Malcolm Phillips, England and Fylde.

John Spencer outlined the origin of a Barbarians signed print from 1973, a record of the try scored, by Gareth Edwards, against the touring All Blacks, that was later sold at auction.

A very successful raffle and auction swelled the coffers for both the charity and Fylde Rugby Club, with Wooden Spoon Lancashire receiving £12,500 from the day.

A massive word of thanks must be give to Mark Cadley of Wooden Spoon Lancashire and Fylde for almost single-handedly managing this great event.

To find out more about the activities of Wooden Spoon Lancashire and how you can get involved please email the committee on