A pass to the next generation 

Like many of our gifted sports stars, History student and University of Nottingham men’s rugby player, James Cherry, has boundless energy and talent. But it’s thanks to support from generous donors like you that he’s been able to take the game of rugby to the next level, both on and off the field. We caught up with James to find out how your donations towards sport are helping him to go the extra mile.

James Cherry, History student 

The kick off

I came to Nottingham from Norfolk. It’s a big city compared to what I’m used to, but with rugby, you instantly have a group of friends. I made my way into the men’s first team a few weeks into starting at university, and it’s been amazing every step of the way. Throughout my three years on the team, my best moment was towards the end of last year. After eight months of Covid-19 misery and lockdowns, we beat Nottingham Trent for the first time in seven or eight years. It felt incredible!

Going for goals
2020 was a particularly special year because it marked 100 years of the men’s Rugby Union Club at Nottingham, and 35 years of the women’s club. I was lucky enough to be invited to the centenary dinner last September. It was a brilliant event and it was awesome to meet Brian Moore, a former member of the University of Nottingham rugby club and a British and Irish Lions legend. I also got to meet loads of amazing former Nottingham rugby players. People like that inspire me so much. They make me put more effort in and work harder.

In terms of the next 100 years, my dream is to leave the university with the first XV going into BUCS Super Rugby for the first time in history. As first team Vice-Captain, General Secretary for the men’s rugby club and a player who has been part of every game this year, it would be a such a proud moment for me. We’re currently top of the league so it really could be in sight.


Tackling issues head on

Off the field, I am General Secretary of Rugby Minds. It’s a student-run initiative that was set up by third year economics student and women’s rugby player, Rei Crookes. It’s supported by donations made to the university and our aim is to create positive changes in the rugby clubs. Rei is our rugby ambassador and she’s done a brilliant job bringing together members of the men’s and women’s clubs and intramural sport to address important issues. There can be a negative side to lad culture that can spill over into the wrong type of behaviour. As rugby players, we want to tackle that and move towards a more progressive, inclusive and friendly culture.

Propping up players

Donors to the university really do make a huge difference, not just by giving towards student run initiatives, but also by helping people through scholarships and bursaries. I was lucky enough to get a Martin Wynne-Jones bursary, which was given to me on the premise of exemplary commitment and application to club. It comes with some money so I got a new pair of boots, which I really needed. They’re a really nice pair rather than the bog standard ones I normally buy. I hope that donors know that they are changing people’s lives. It’s so appreciated and it really takes the pressure off me as student.

I hope that the people who donate know that they are changing people's lives.

Into the future

I’ve been lucky enough to play quite well this year and I’ve received some amazing offers to play semi-professional/professional rugby when I graduate. If I’m able to stay in Nottingham, I’m hoping to put the bursary towards some coaching qualifications. I’d like to come back and coach our first XV. I’d also love to help the lower teams. There’s a lot of talent there too.

When you’re in the rugby club, you pick up a torch and carry it with pride. When you graduate, you pass it on to the next generation. By donating, alumni are providing resource to keep the flame going. I really hope that they know what a brilliant thing they are doing and what a positive impact they’re making. People who give back are just amazing and it’s something that I’d love to do when I’m older.”

James is one of hundreds of students who benefit from Nottingham’s fantastic sports facilities and financial support available at Nottingham. It has all been made possible by generous sports donors, like you. Thank you for everything you do to help our rising sports stars and students who are just discovering the benefits that sport at Nottingham can bring.

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