A young rugby player who spent lockdown running to raise money for Bath Rugby’s charity is the team’s mascot for the London Irish clash.

When the Covid-19 lockdown ended his rugby season early, Harrison Sheppard, aged 14, decided he wanted to support Bath Rugby Foundation and the young people the charity works with.

Harrison had previously met the Foundation team when he took part in Project Rugby sessions at Trowbridge RFC.

On his justgiving page he said: “I’d like to raise money for the Bath Rugby Foundation because they help vulnerable children and young people in Bath and the surrounding area to succeed using the core values of rugby, to help develop young people mentally and physically.”

As current restrictions mean Bath Rugby cannot have a mascot running out with the team, deserving youngsters who have taken part in Bath Rugby Foundation programmes will become “virtual mascots” for the remaining home fixtures.

When rugby matches and training were cancelled due to the lockdown, Harrison decided to maintain his fitness by running.

He said: “I am working hard to maintain my fitness through the lockdown as I cannot play rugby right now, and I have started running every day. I am planning on running the same distance from my club, Trowbridge RFC, to Twickenham which is 89 miles, or 143.23km during the next few weeks that I am at home and off school.”

By June 2 Harrison had completed his challenge, raising £530 for Bath Rugby Foundation.

Bath Rugby Foundation’s Programme Development Manager, Caryl Thomas, who supported Harrison by joining him – virtually - on a lockdown run herself, said: “It is lovely when young people step forward to support Bath Rugby Foundation and in doing so, support people their own age.

“Harrison set himself a really tough challenge and we’re so grateful he wanted to see others benefit from his efforts.

“Well done and thank you, Harrison.”

Harrison’s fundraising page is still open. If you would like to support his efforts, please click the link below.

Donate to Harrison's running appeal here >>

Project Rugby is a joint initiative between Premiership Rugby and England Rugby and aims to increase participation in the game