A moving Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Awards ceremony held at the House of Commons yesterday celebrated inspirational young rugby player, Tim Beale who was crowned Rugby Ambassador of the Year 2022. Tim Beale, was recognised for overcoming physical and social barriers to become involved in the game whilst embodying the values of rugby.

The Parliamentary Awards, returning after a 2 year hiatus due to the pandemic, saw a crowded terrace at the House of Commons celebrate the achievements of five inspirational individuals. Each has either personally benefited from, or helped deliver, Premiership Rugby’s community programmes which are designed to provide sporting opportunities to young people, no matter their background or ability, so they can fulfil their potential.

In September last year Bath Rugby Foundation visited the specialist college Tim attends to run a Project Rugby session. Tim, who has Down Syndrome, struggled at first as his sensitivities left him not wanting to be tagged or even pick up the ball. Fast forward to today, and Tim is now Captain of Melksham Stags RFC Mixed Ability Team, tackling and scoring tries regularly and leading by example.

With self-belief and confidence at an all-time high, Tim can do everything from kicking conversions and scoring winning tries. Socialising and being physically active on a weekly basis brought about changes in Tim that are unrecognisable to his parents. Growing up Tim had seen the interest his dad had in rugby but never wanted to play, now his team are planning a fixture so Tim can play rugby against his dad.

Lynne Fernquest, CEO of Bath Rugby said of Tim’s journey; “The biggest difference in Tim is his communication and confidence. He’s tackled the barriers of being shy and lacking confidence to now leading a team. He has opened the eyes of other people with disabilities to know that they can get involved in rugby, that you can be involved now matter your ability or disability. He’ll be really proud to have won this award.
Wayne Morris, Community and CSR Director, Premiership Rugby, explains ‘Tim’s story is one that makes me smile and we are honoured to be able to recognise dedication to rugby today. His story shows that we are right to believe that all young people, no matter their background or ability, should have equal access to sporting opportunities which help them fulfil their potential. Tim has come so far personally and this is all thanks to finding a love of rugby.”

Other awards being presented at the ceremony, attended by MPs and stars from Premiership teams, included Outstanding Achiever of the Year, Community Coach of the Year, Community Volunteer of the Year and a Special Recognition Award.