A DRIVE by officials to boost support for Swindon Rugby Club continued on Saturday with a mass picnic on the pitch, despite a morning downpour.

Yvette Maxwell-Darkes, a club life member and chief fundraiser, said new efforts were being made because the club needs money and people to support it in all areas, and not just on the playing side.

The event itself ran for six hours at the club’s Greenbridge Road base, with people making small donations for cakes and face painting.

Yvette said it was more about enhancing the club’s profile and encouraging others to make more of an effort away from the pitch.

She said: “The club needs money. If you don’t support it, it will die.

“It’s gone a little bit stale and we are trying to revitalise it. We have a great bank of people to use behind the scenes.

“This is something we are going to start doing every year. The first team weren’t too happy about us using their hallowed turf, but we just told them it’s happening.

“There are a lot more things happening at the club as the season starts – this is a drive to do more around the club to encourage more people to get involved.”

A start time of 2pm proved to be a masterstroke by organisers as the ground began to dry out after a morning deluge. There was a mass rounders match, tug of war, chase the broom, pillow fights, face painting and children’s cocktails on offer for those who brought their picnics with them.

Officials put club membership at over 500 across the board, but attention is being paid to the younger ranks, where higher participation can lead to greater grants which improve facilities and opportunities for the club. Evidence of community involvement can support bids for funds.

For more information, visit www.pitchero. com/clubs/swindonrfc/