England Deaf Rugby players having to self-fund tour to South Africa

England’s Deaf Rugby team faces a funding challenge for their South Africa tour. With no official support, they turn to crowdfunding, exemplifying resilience amidst adversity.
England's Deaf Rugby team faces a funding challenge for their South Africa tour. With no official support, they turn to crowdfunding, exemplifying resilience amidst adversity.
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England’s Deaf Rugby team is having to self-fund their two test tour to South Africa this summer.

They have been left to rely on an online fundraiser.

John Clark, who is organising this GoFundMe appeal, made his England debut last month.

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The 37-year-old told Need To Know that he lost his hearing in one ear six years ago and his other ear last Christmas.

He currently relies on hearing aids and lip reading.

“It’s impacted everything, I’ve had to change my career,” he said.

“How I run my businesses but also how I communicate with my loved ones as we are all learning sign language.

Having played rugby since he was 11-years-old, he is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to play.

England's Deaf Rugby team faces a funding challenge for their South Africa tour. With no official support, they turn to crowdfunding, exemplifying resilience amidst adversity.
John Clark playing for England. (Picture: Jam Press)

“It means everything, being around other like minded people that face the same adversity and challenges,” John, of Malvern, Worcestershire said.

“But also being able to represent your country. It was a big honour to be selected for my first cap and for this tour.”

But, unfortunately, as a recognised charity the England Deaf Rugby Union don’t receive funding like the Rugby Football Union would.

“It’s difficult as I know some of the guys are struggling to raise funds or can’t afford to pay themselves so have had to decline the opportunity.

“And larger sponsors are harder to come by, hence why most of us have taken to GoFundMe pages to try and offset some of the costs,” John added.

Clark is hoping to raise £1,200 on the GoFundMe page, with the aim of setting “an example that disabilities aren’t the end of the road and can still open doors if we look hard enough.”

England's Deaf Rugby team faces a funding challenge for their South Africa tour. With no official support, they turn to crowdfunding, exemplifying resilience amidst adversity.
John Clark playing for England. (Picture: Jam Press)

Clark is no stranger to a challenge, having previously taken on 48 marathons in 48 days raising £48,000 for charity.

“Now, he hopes to take this opportunity to play abroad, looking the Springboks in the eye and representing his country.”

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