A RUGBY World Cup winner was in attendance on Friday as Salisbury Rugby Club celebrated the completion of its new changing rooms.

The fund raising of more than £600,000 and the building itself took more than five years to complete, including frustrating delays due to bad weather and Covid restrictions.

The funds were raised from a variety of sources, including grants from the RFU, Sport England, Community Landfill Tax, generous club sponsors and donations from many members and friends.

There was also a variety of fundraising efforts by the club and its members, including formal dinners, sponsored walks, a Buy a Brick scheme, parties, dances and many other functions at the club organised and supported by the members and their friends.

Important help was given during the build by architects, suppliers and contractors working at often far less than their normal rates.

All these contributors were invited to the opening ceremony in the Heritage Suite on Friday when Richard Larcombe, club president, welcomed over 100 guests and introduced Richard A Hill MBE, a former Salisbury player who went on to play for Saracens, England, and the British and Irish Lions and of course was a Rugby World Cup winner in 2003.

Richard had been involved in the project from the start and it was a special moment when he revealed the board naming the changing rooms “The Arthur Bowden Wing”.

Arthur, who died earlier this year at the age of 92, was an Honorary Life Vice President of the Club and an exceptional supporter of rugby in Salisbury, Dorset and Wilts and further afield.

Club President, Richard Larcombe said: “We are delighted that the Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football Foundation, Sport England and so many other sponsors, patrons, members and volunteers were able to come together to provide these excellent facilities to support a lasting rugby union legacy in Salisbury and south Wiltshire for men, women, boys and girls to enjoy for many years to come.”

Get more Salisbury news

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.