Natalie Gilmour, star of the England Women’s Rugby League team and sister of Huddersfield Giants player Lee Gilmour, is getting ready to go global by delivering a Touch Rugby skills course in the African country of Zambia later this month.
Gilmour will travel to the Zambian area of Ndola with fellow England internationals Lindsay Anfield, Michelle Greenwod, Beth Sutcliffe, Jo Watmore, Emma Slowe, Kirsty Robinson and Charlene Hennegan, along with former England team-mates Debbie Hodgkinson and Andrea Dobson.
The women will spend their time in Zambia visiting local schools, villages and orphanages to coach local children the basics of Rugby League through a project set up by The Tag Rugby Trust, a charity aimed at improving the lives of children in some of the poorest regions of the world.
The women have all had to raise £1,500 each to finance the trip and have reached their totals through a combination of challenges, with Gilmour completing the Three Peaks challenge earlier this year.
The women also received help from local Rugby League clubs with donations from Rugby League World magazine and The Rugby Shack assisting them to reach their totals.
“I’ve done little bits to raise money for charity before but this just seemed too good an opportunity to miss,” said Gilmour. “To be able to go to a deprived area and help put a smile on a kids face will be a great achievement for me personally and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“When we go, we will be leaving behind all the kit we take with us so that the local children will be able to use the equipment and play Rugby League all year round and this will help to spread rugby to a wider population.
“This type of initiative is not just about the sport, it can also help these kids develop their personality and their skills and being able to work as part of a team, commit yourself to a task and focus on a challenge are all the things we need in the big wide world.
“I have previously passed both my Level One and Two coaching awards and this is something I want to continue working on. I want to be able to coach when I eventually retire from playing, hopefully after the next World Cup because I’ve gained a lot from playing rugby and I want to be able to give something back.”