The three lions
5:30am Saturday 8th March 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
IT WAS an historic day for Swindon Rugby Club yesterday as three members of the same family took to the field together for a charity rugby match.
Jim, Ian and Cameron Panting were all on the side of Fatboys cancer charity who were playing against Wiltshire Police.
The game is played every year in memory of police officer and keen rugby player Mike Lawless, who died of cancer in 1999, and sees former friends and colleagues take to the field in a Police XV versus Lawless XV match.
It was down to club captain and chairman Jim, 73, to take the kick-off and he spoke of his pride at taking to the field with his family members.
He said: “I’ve played alongside my son before but I never thought I would be taking to the field with my grandson as well.
“It’s obviously a very proud day for me and it is great to be doing it in this game, which is for such a good cause.”
Yesterday was not a Panting family first at Swindon Rugby Club as Jim and Ian, 52, were the first father and son to take play on the same team.
“None of us ever thought this would happen,” said Ian.
“My dad was the first to give me my debut in 1974 and I played alongside him for about eight years as well as on his 40th and 50th birthday.
“I’ve played alongside my son once as well but stepping onto the pitch is certainly a first. It’s definitely never happened at this club before.
The youngest member of the family taking the field is grandson Cameron, 20, who played only his third game back after being out with a knee injury.
He said: “I think you’d have to go and look quite hard for a game with three members of the same family on the pitch at the same time.
“It’s a great game to play in and I’m really proud of being able to run out alongside my dad and granddad.”
Following the match, everyone went along to Basement 73, in Commercial Road, for an evening of rock music, Mike’s other passion.
It is hoped the day, in its 16th year, will raise about £8,000 which will then be used to help children suffering from cancer at Christmas.
Looey Law, one of the event organisers, said: “It’s a really fun day in memory of a fantastic larger than life person.
“He was such a friendly person who had time for everyone and so his friends come out every year to raise money in his memory.”
Donations are welcome and can be made via the internet at www.justgiving.com/fatboyscancercharity/Donate or by cheques payable to Fatboys charity to PO Box 2812, Chippenham, SN15 5WZ.