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Arnhem 2014 - The Grayburn Tour

On Saturday 22 March 2014, A&C President Peter Osborne hosted the Club's most prestigious annual event - the 29th President's Luncheon.

It is strictly invitation only and includes former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chairmen, Honorary and Life members, Club members, guests and friends to the Club.

But this year, the Luncheon was even more special because as a precursor to the Club Tour to Arnhem in May in tribute to Jack Grayburn VC, the Parachute Regiment's world famous display team "Red Devils" had been invited to bring his Victoria Cross to the club. They promised to drop in, literally!

It was a wonderful sunny day, though a stiff wind meant that the parachute display was in doubt. The Red Devils' airplane circled the rugby grounds for some time at 2000 feet obviously concerned about the wind. They dropped two ribboned weights to see how they were affected by the wind - they landed somewhere in Chesham Bois apparently. Not encouraging.

Of course, one should never under-estimate the Parachute Regiment's determination nor skill. A far wider circle took the airplane well to the south west and suddenly eight Red Devils parachutes were in the air. They were spectacular and so was the rate of their descent. The first Red Devil landed within inches of the centre of the First XV pitch. They were clearly struggling with the strong wind and apparently had to descend much faster than usual to combat the wind, with an amazing tight turn near the ground to kill the speed and land accurately. Every single Red Devil landed with the same few inches of their target - though one was travelling at great speed and hit the halfway line with a hell of a thump. Happily, only winded. The large onlooking crowd applauded loudly and energetically - even the two First XV teams that had been warming up on the adjacent pitch.

The Red Devils presented Jack Grayburn's medals to his son John Grayburn, special guest for the day. And, A&C Chairman Richard Bobbett was presented with the match ball for the following First XV league match (as shown top right).

A&C's First XV was clearly inspired by the occasion and scored eight tries against Old Redcliffians in the National 3 South West league match.

It was just one of those most magical days. And made one proud to be a member of Amersham & Chiltern Rugby.

Please click to view photos of the Red Devils at A&C.


Where next?

The U15s The junior tour party set off from the A&C clubhouse in the early afternoon but, due to traffic jams


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