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Meet Fakenham's new Director of Rugby

Meet Fakenham's new Director of Rugby

James Howell31 May - 11:24
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A man with a vast and varied rugby history

Fakenham Rugby Club is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Director of Rugby, Laurence “Bee” Bannister. Bee is completely new to the area, having only moved to Norfolk in March. He was looking to join a local rugby club and happened to bump into our very own Adrian Stringer in the pub, who obviously sang the praises of our wonderful club.

Bee has an extensive rugby past, as a player as well as a coach, selector and manager. He first played adult rugby for RAF Digby, beginning his apprenticeship as a prop two months before his 17th birthday; a very impressive feat that would not be allowed today. He clearly picked up the dark arts of the front row quickly, as he went on to represent the RAF and then the Combined Services. He also played two seasons for Sale, predominantly the 2nd XV, while completing his degree after leaving the RAF.

The superb playing career has been matched by equally impressive rugby roles and achievements off the pitch. In 2019 Bee was awarded an Honorary Life Membership of the England Rugby Schools’ Football Union after acting as an England 16 Group National Selector and England Counties U18 National Chairman of Selectors, as well as a coach and selector of various age grade sides at district, Constituent Body and divisional level. In 2017 he was invited onto the Advisory Board of Worcester Warriors, looking after links to schools and education, having also been a Regional Player Pathway Group selector there for 20 years.

Bee has been to a couple of our games already, one of which was the cup final where the players mistook him for a spy when watching the warm up, despite him wearing a very conspicuous pink shirt that couldn’t be less spy like. He liked what he saw, on and off the pitch, and decided to through his hat in the ring for the Director of Rugby position. With his impressive rugby CV and interview, Bee secured the role. He feels honoured that the committee decided to appoint him and looks forward to making an impact in the coming season.

With no preconceived ideas about the local rugby scene, Bee will be able to look at the club with a fresh pair of eyes and offer new insights. He has pointed out that Fakenham faces the same challenges as other community and grassroots clubs across the country in a testing time for rugby. Nonetheless, he is looking to confront these challenges and secure the mid and long term future of the club.

Welcome to the club, Bee, we are very happy to have you.

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