There are lots of reasons why the All Blacks have long been admired as the best team in the world. Three of their principles stand out above all others – ‘go for the gap’, ‘play with purpose’ and ‘embrace expectations’.

As we reflect on our Six Nations fundraising event, and more specifically the pace at which we got this thing done, we absolutely went for it, with purpose. And boy did we dream big.

Any rugby fan of a certain age will remember the footage of Doddie Weir during the media training on the 97 Lions tour. For everyone else, Google ‘mistaken identity’ – it’s pure comedy gold.

For those who have played and/or supported rugby, it is impossible not to be touched by Doddie’s story and his determination to make life better for MND sufferers today and in the future. And so, when Paul met Doddie’s old Melrose and Scotland teammate, Bryan Redpath, they talked about Doddie, how he was and what he was doing. They also spoke about Rob Burrow and within two days, Paul had bought his autobiography, laughing and crying in equal measure at his story.

Paul had never met either of these two men, but he knew he wanted Realia to do something to help the cause. Their tenacity and strength in facing up to a degenerative disease for which there is no cure – yet – is humbling, affecting and inspirational in equal measure.

Paul doesn’t play golf, and no-one wants to see him swimming in budgie smugglers, so he decided to do what he does best – have a bit of a piss up.

Fast forward to Thursday, February 3rd, and we were thrilled to welcome clients, colleagues and friends to stunning East Wing at Twickenham to hear male and female pros discuss the big talking points and give their predictions for this year’s championships.

Our hosts were former England prop David Flatman; Great Britain forward and friend of Rob’s, Barrie McDermott; and Jill Douglas, broadcaster and CEO of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. They officially opened the afternoon’s proceedings before introducing videos from both charities, which provided all attendees with a powerful reminder of what this event was all about.

After some lively panel discussions expertly hosted by Flats, a fine four-course lunch, a spot of Heads and Tails (possibly a libation or two) and an auction, it was then time to tot up our fundraising total.

This was the real point behind the lunch, and it was incredibly rewarding to be able to hand over cheques in excess of £10,000 to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and the Rob Burrow MND Centre in Leeds.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all the professionals who believed in our idea and were willing to devote their valuable time (for free!) to the day. Our thanks also go to the Realia clients and other attendees who invested their moral and financial support – your contributions are all very gratefully received, and we hope you had as much fun as we did on the day.

For Team Realia, this event was an opportunity to put our award-nominated event management skills to worthy use and in some small way make a difference to two fantastic causes – charities that benefit life, you might say.


Reflections on our Six Nations Lunch