Rugby stars come together at Wooden Spoon’s Ruby Rugby Ball to raise over £70,000 to support vulnerable children and young people across the UK and Ireland

A staggering four million children across the UK currently live in poverty, while 9% of children in the UK have a disability and one in six experience at least one mental health challenge.

David Flatman is joined by Chris Ashton, the all-time leading try scorer in Premiership Rugby, England internationals Alex Goode and Sarah Bern, as well as former Red Rose, Gill Burns MBE

In order to combat this and pledge that all children and young people have access to the best life opportunities, Wooden Spoon, The Children’s Charity of Rugby, held their Ruby Rugby Ball at the prestigious Landmark Hotel in London on Friday, February 10, to raise crucial financial resources to start life-changing projects throughout the UK and Ireland through the power of rugby.

This year’s occasion marked a huge milestone in which the charity celebrated its 40th birthday. During its four decades, in excess of £31 million has been distributed to more than 1,465 projects, supporting over 1.5 million children and young people.

The 2023 event saw over 350 in attendance, with a number of renowned rugby figures from the past and present, including former England scrum-half Dewi Morris, Red Rose Sarah Bern, Paralympic wheelchair rugby champions Stuart Robinson MBE and Kylie Grimes MBE and current English Premiership stars Chris Ashton, Alex Goode and Luke Northmore.

The evening was hosted by ex-England international turned fan favourite pundit David Flatman, who was joined by a panel that included Chris Ashton, the all-time leading try scorer in Premiership Rugby, England internationals Alex Goode and Sarah Bern, as well as former Red Rose, Gill Burns MBE to answer questions about their professional careers, some of the hot topics in rugby right now and, most importantly, their love of the sport and its ability to have a positive influence on society.

Maddie from The Boathouse Youth receives a standing ovation after her speech

David Flatman, who hosted the Ruby Rugby Ball said:

“I’ve had a brilliant night hosting the Wooden Spoon Ruby Rugby Ball, raising over £70,000.

It was a room full of hundreds of people, very smartly dressed all acutely aware of the fortunate positions they were in and they all wanted to show love and give as much money as they possibly could to help those that need it via the wonderful charity that is Wooden Spoon”

Gill Burns MBE who took part in the Q&A added

“I love supporting the Wooden Spoon. Having worked as a teacher for 32 years I recognise the importance of the facilities and experiences that Wooden Spoon projects provide for children who need the support. Rugby is all about fun so linking my sporting passion with help for vulnerable children is a perfect mix. Long may my association with charity continue.”

In what was a memorable night, Wooden Spoon awarded 10 lucky guests the opportunity to win fantastic gifts and goodies through a Stand up Sit down auction, with all proceeds going towards supporting food banks up and down the nation to help provide food for those struggling to feed their families.

As the first of many exciting initiatives to commemorate Wooden Spoon’s 40th anniversary, the charity is proud to have hosted such a collaborative and inclusive event. Wooden Spoon will continue to work with the rugby community and the charities supporters and volunteers, to continue creating positive change and enhancing the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon at The Ruby Rugby Ball

Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon, said:

“Tonight is a wonderful example of the Rugby community coming together with a common goal: to raise funds for vulnerable children across the UK and Ireland through the power of rugby. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off our 40th year celebrations and I would like to say thank you to our generous guests tonight who have all contributed to the phenomenal amount raised. These donations will enable Wooden Spoon to continue changing the lives of those vulnerable children who need us the most.”

Please visit to discover more about the charity’s work and how children’s lives are changed through the power of rugby.