Bedford and Ampthill set for Championship season after some brilliant backing

Both clubs are set to compete in the new season, which is due to start at the beginning of next month

By Jon Dunham
Monday, 8th February 2021, 8:32 am
Updated Monday, 8th February 2021, 8:34 am
Bedford Blues and Ampthill are set to compete in the new Greene King IPA Championship season
Bedford Blues and Ampthill are set to compete in the new Greene King IPA Championship season

Bedford Blues and Ampthill have paid tribute to their members, sponsors and supporters after both clubs confirmed they will be competing in the 2021 Greene King IPA Championship season.

Clubs’ participation in the Championship, which is due to start on March 6, had been thrown into doubt after they were told they would have to take out government loans to cover their funding with fans unlikely to be allowed into stadiums when the campaign kicks off.

Both Bedford and Ampthill confirmed their applications to the Sport Winter Survival Package for grants have been unsuccessful and both clubs then turned to their supporters to try to raise the money to pay for the Covid-related costs of testing, protocols and operations to enable them to compete.

A Crowdfunding campaign launched by the Blues has seen over £40,000 of a £50,000 target raised while Ampthill’s GoFundMe page is set to hit the initial £20,000 target set.

It’s been a staggering response for both clubs.

In a statement, Bedford Blue said: “The support we have received thus far has been overwhelming and we are appealing to anyone who is able to help us continue through this process with a contribution towards these costs.

“We anticipate for at least a large majority of the season that spectators will not be permitted into Goldington Road, if at all, which leaves the club in an extremely challenging position financially.

“A special thanks must go to the Board of Directors at Bedford Blues for negotiating their way through these difficult circumstances and enabling us to return to Championship action; along with the players, staff and fans for their patience.”

Ampthill confirmed they would not take up the offer of a government loan after their bid for a grant was rejected.

However, they have also received big backing on the GoFundMe page including a donation of £5,000 from EPS Site Solutions and another donation from Howdens (Flitwick Branch).

The Ampthill Extras after also starting a 500-mile team relay running challenge around the streets of Ampthill and Flitwick today, in which they hope to raise £1,000.

Ampthill chairman Alex Radley said: “Whilst we are extremely disappointed with the circumstances we find ourselves in, we are also amazed and enormously thankful for the support shown by the rugby community as a whole and our own members in particular.

“We still have a significant amount to raise so the club can pay its Covid-19 testing fees and complete the season. Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity.”

If you wish to donate to Bedford Blues’ Crowdfunder, you can by visiting the website www.crowdfunder.co.uk/protect-your-bedford-blues#startAnd if you wish to donate to Ampthill’s cause, you can by visiting www.gofundme.com/f/ampthill-rufc-championship-squad-covid19-expenses