Rugby On Everest – One Year On

Today marks a very special date for Wooden Spoon. It is one year exactly since 27 men and women played the highest game of rugby in history, just below the death zone, on Mount Everest. 

As the children’s charity of rugby navigates a very different world – fighting a global pandemic, with most of the world living in lockdown and the gates to Mount Everest firmly closed – it is important to celebrate the legacy of that phenomenal expedition.


Twenty-seven intrepid challengers raised a massive £200,000 in net funds. This helped enable the charity to donate a record £1.3 million to life-changing projects for vulnerable children in the last financial year (2019-2020).

One of our top fundraisers, Miles Hayward, reflects on arguably one of the most difficult parts of the challenge:

“One year on from our Everest expedition and strangely the current world for me feels similar to that time. Then I felt like I was in a bubble of struggle, missing loved ones and a sense of doom about waking up the next day!

“They say time is a great healer and whilst it certainly enables one to remember the good times, it’s the hard times that shape us and makes us better people. Everest took it’s toll on me physically and mentally, even the fundraising was extremely draining at times with the weight of expectation and not wanting to let anyone down.

“But all said and done and it will be the same for what we are living through now, you emerge stronger with a greater self-awareness a renewed sense of friendship and trust in people and another challenge stored in the memory bank ready for the next battle.”

 The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge also helped Wooden Spoon win The Telegraph Christmas Appeal, which generated the charity just shy of £165,000, which we are now using to support small local charities through the COVID-19 crisis.


So one year on, we can announce how the funds have been spent:

Ronald McDonald House – An Outdoor Play Area

Ronald McDonald House in Manchester provides families with free accommodation and support, just a stone’s throw from their child’s hospital ward at Manchester Children’s Hospital. The outdoor play area funded by Wooden Spoon provides much needed outdoor space for siblings of these children to blow off steam and to just be kids. Ronald McDonald UK Charities are still running their services through the COVID-19 crisis.

West Road Primary School – Multi-Use Games Area

West Road Primary School in Yorkshire supports over 96% of children living in poverty and the new play area has provided and will continue to, when schools re-open structured sports activity to vulnerable children often leading very chaotic lives.


There are a further two projects approved and awaiting the green light for build when Government restrictions allow:

The Phillips School – A Forest Classroom

This school is a state funded school for children aged between 11 and 19 with special needs.

Wooden Spoon will provide an outdoor learning space that also links to a market garden within the school. Pupils have been involved in the design helping increase their confidence, build independence and learn new skills. 

Fusion Community Initiatives are set to deliver the project which will allow the Everest challengers to help build a project that they raised funds for.

Coventry Rugby Community Foundation – Specialist sports wheelchairs

This organisation, who are part of Coventry RFC, are looking to create a rugby wheelchair club.

For children and young people without a disability, can be as simple as buying them a pair of rugby boots and taking them to your local club.

For young people with disabilities, a specialist rugby wheelchair can cost £5,000, which can be a massive barrier in enabling them to play. 

The aim of the wheelchairs is to provide essential equipment so young people with disabilities get the chance to play and benefit from regularly taking part in sport.

Pipeline Projects

There are more pipeline projects underway with funds to be spent in Kent and potentially Wales and Dorset.


Our title sponsors: LMAX Exchange

Our corporate sponsors: Cox Automotive, VM Ware, OPRO, Gilbert, O’Neill’s Citycise, HCA Healthcare, UK Gym Equipment and ROC Technologies.

Our media partners: World Rugby TV and Brazil.

And our amazing challengers: Ollie Phillips, Tamara Taylor, Shane Williams, Lee Mears, Matt Mitchell, James O’Malley, Ben Harvey, David Fenton, Graham Allen, Huw Lougher, Jess Cheeseman, John Curtis, Jon Ingarfield, Jude McKelvey, Lesley Davies, Roger Davies, Mark Ackred, Mark Dean, Matt Franklin, Miles Hayward, Nick Stevenson, Paul Jordan, Rob Callaway, Viv Worrall, Roger Davies and Simon Wright.