UNIQUE claims to fame have catapulted Rugby into the final shortlist of a search to find England’s ‘Home of Sport’.
Tourism body VisitEngland named the town among six top sporting destinations, as nominated by the public.
A panel narrowed down over 2,000 submissions to come up with the shortlist of destinations according to their offering of sporting venues and attractions, breadth of their sporting experiences, diverse and beautiful backdrops, and sporting trivia or claims to fame.
Rugby has been chosen as the ‘claim to fame’ candidate – but not just because of William Webb Ellis’ famous 1823 breach of football rules which gave birth to the game of rugby.
The VisitEngland shortlist also draws attention to Rugby’s lesser-known sporting milestones.
It states: “Rugby School is also accredited with many of the words associated with the sport – from ‘try’ to ‘goal line’ – as well as giving the England team its defining white shirt and inventing ‘caps’.
“Rugby became the winter sport of the British Empire, spreading to France, Argentina, Japan and the rest of the world, and today international teams still battle for the ‘Webb Ellis’ trophy in the World Cup.”
Rugby Borough Council culture spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said she was thrilled to see the town and borough shortlisted alongside some of England’s great cities.
She added: “As the only town to have given its name to a global sport, it is no surprise that Rugby has been nominated.
“As the Rugby World Cup gets underway, the eyes of the world are on us and we are ready to give all our visitors a warm welcome to the Proud Home and birthplace of the game.”
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive says: “Poignantly, in the year that England hosts the Rugby World Cup, the Warwickshire town of Rugby received a plethora of nominations.
“A number of fascinating claims to fame were unearthed in round one of the campaign. We are excited to see which of our worthy shortlist the public crowns the country’s ultimate Home of Sport.”
The shortlist of England’s top sporting destinations is:
- Biggest claim to fame – Rugby
- The people’s choice (most nominations) – Nottingham
- Sporting playground – Yorkshire
- Best sporting attractions – Manchester
- Quirkiest sports – Gloucestershire
- Iconic venues and events – London
Visit www.englandhomeofsport.com to vote for Rugby.
Voting will close on October 19. The winner will be announced on October 23.