Richmond Heavies Foundation 1 of 5


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The Richmond Heavies are the veteran’s side of Richmond Rugby Club, one of the leading community rugby clubs in the UK.

The Richmond Heavies Foundation was born out of the unconnected premature deaths of three amazing guys closely connected to the Heavies within six weeks of each other in 2018.

Stephen Fairn, Ian Williams and Stewart Barlow were dedicated and talented rugby players. Stephen died aged 51 of a heart attack, Ian Williams, aged 27, collapsed whilst at training and died of a heart attack and Stewart, aged 43 died after a long battle with brain cancer. The close friendships formed whilst playing together has left a lasting legacy, which is this Foundation.

As a group of Richmond Heavies, we want to enhance the wellbeing of all our members, players, coaches, staff and their families within this community rugby club through both seeking to avoid future preventable tragedies as well as being able to help those immediately affected by life-changing injuries or death.
The Richmond Heavies Foundation seeks to fulfil this purpose through our PROTECT and SUPPORT missions.


Our mission is to:

  • Extend lives and prevent avoidable early deaths by facilitating cardiac screening
  • Provide access to confidential mental health services
  • Increase health awareness – physical, mental and emotional – through education programmes and campaigns

Cardiac Screening

Every week, at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young (aged 35 and under) people in the UK die from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. In 80% of cases, there will have been no signs or symptoms, which is why proactive cardiac screening is so vitally important. Sport itself does not cause young sudden cardiac death but it can exacerbate an underlying condition, if not identified.

Mental Health

One in four adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK. Most young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment and it can take a decade to receive help after showing first symptoms. Opportunities to help are often missed until they reach “crisis” resulting in suicides being the leading cause of death in young adults, especially men.

Health Awareness

Good health is the foundation of a happy life, happy families and thriving communities. We view health as our most precious asset, and not just a problem to fix when it goes wrong. Screening programmes and health checks, have long been used to identify those at risk of or already living with health problems. By preventing conditions – or detecting them at more treatable stages – it’s possible to save lives and improve outcomes.


Our mission is to:

  • Assist families affected by sudden death or life-changing injury
  • Encourage participation in rugby in our community through the provision of membership bursaries


The impact of any tragic loss is felt widely by loved ones. We assist families of the Richmond Rugby community affected by sudden death or life-changing injury through provision of grants, access to counselling and ongoing support to meet their needs.


Working with our own Community Department, the Foundation encourages increased participation in rugby through the provision of membership bursaries.

Defib Fund

With ordinary people doing extraordinary things, we have during the short period since our formation added to our mission. There are over 1,000 community rugby clubs in England, and our goal is that no club should be without a working defibrillator due to lack of funds.

Our Defibrillator Fund has been set up to provide defibrillators to community rugby clubs who cannot afford this life-saving device and to date we have been able to place over 50 defibrillators into rugby clubs up and down the country, making them a safer place should the worst happen.

The Richmond Heavies Foundation is a self-funded charitable arm of Richmond Rugby Club. We are governed as part of the rugby charity, The Atlas Foundation (registered charity no: 1161179).

If you would like to help us in the work we do please click here.