A ‘massively special’ 50th anniversary of Weston Minis says son of founder Hedges

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 September 2020

Weston Minis founder Bob Hedges (right) and his son Bert Hedges (left). Picture: Bert Hedges.

Weston Minis founder Bob Hedges (right) and his son Bert Hedges (left). Picture: Bert Hedges.

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The son of Weston Minis founder Bob Hedges has said it is “massively special” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the junior side, which was the first of its kind in the country.

Bert Hedges has held a variety of roles at Weston Rugby Club over the course of 50 years with the club.Picture: Josh ThomasBert Hedges has held a variety of roles at Weston Rugby Club over the course of 50 years with the club.Picture: Josh Thomas

Bert Hedges was one of only eight people to sign up for the Minis back in 1970 to take part in the first match held at Downs School in Hambrook.

Now there are 300 children in different age groups and Hedges, who has been part of Weston Rugby Club for over 50 years, has progressed all the way up to the first team, before being involved with Somerset Rugby as their first-team coach.

He has also coached all the minis and juniors and is now the current RFU Committee disciplinary chairman.

“It was my Dad’s brainchild really. We first trained in my back garden when we really small and then we went on the beach lawns before coming here,” said Hedges.

Bert Hedges' dad Bob Hedges set up Weston Minis as the youth section gets ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Picture: Josh Thomas.Bert Hedges' dad Bob Hedges set up Weston Minis as the youth section gets ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Picture: Josh Thomas.

“It was really exciting to get on the main pitch and play in front of a small crowd, but they were here watching. It was really interesting and really good.

“I am extremely proud. Without him we wouldn’t be here, this club wouldn’t be here. All the kids that have come up and played junior, colt, senior, first-team rugby. A lot of them are still here. It’s really good.

“It is massively special, especially for my Dad who started everything, without him we wouldn’t have mini rugby in the country. It’s a privilege to be his son and I’m really proud.”

Now with the club about to open their 2020-21 season celebrating half a century of youth rugby at Weston, Hedges admits all the work done by people giving up their time helps make the club what it is.

Bert Hedges was one of eight players who started playing for Weston Minis when the youth section founded 50 years ago and now has over 300 children. Picture: Josh ThomasBert Hedges was one of eight players who started playing for Weston Minis when the youth section founded 50 years ago and now has over 300 children. Picture: Josh Thomas

“Without the volunteers the club would be nothing, we don’t pay anyone anything. It’s volunteers like Steph (Hudson) and other people who do it on their own back and it just keeps the club ticking over,” he added.

However, with a number of players in the first team coming from the youth set-up, including captain Tom Sugg, Hedges says they are proof of what the youngsters can emulate themselves, adding: “All they have to do is come here on a Saturday and watch the players and see how good they are and say ‘I want to be like that’.

“A lot of the blokes out there were Minis and Juniors and they just keep going up and up. Their kids will carry it on and their kids will carry it on, so we will go for another 100 years.”


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