Jersey Reds were victorious in their recent home game against Nottingham, with the team getting a 19-10 win on a rain-drenched pitch in their Lemur-emblazoned shirts.
Spectators were delighted to see the entire team come out in the new shirts, designed by Emily Neil, 10, from Plat Douet School, who won Santander International’s Design a Rugby Shirt Competition.
Featuring a large Ring-Tailed Lemur on the front, and striped black and white sleeves, the shirts embrace the theme, ‘Rewilding our World’.
After the game, the shirts were entered into a silent auction, raising over £5,000 for Durrell and Jersey Rugby Club.
The day was a double celebration for Jersey Reds, following the return of Badongo – the rugby shirted Dream Signing who sat outside the clubhouse this summer.
Lesley Dickie, CEO, Durrell, said: “Santander bid on and won Dream Signing so he is back at the Club and this is his forever home. We’ve had an amazing summer of the gorillas but of course, none of that ever happens without really amazing sponsors.
“Not only did Santander International sponsor a gorilla, they sponsored a competition for children to design a home kit for the wonderful Jersey Reds. It’s a beautiful design and it really got the kids engaged as well.”
Children were invited to enter Santander International’s Design a Jersey Reds Rugby Shirt Competition during the summer holidays. Categories for entry include 0-6 years, 7-11 years, and 12-16 years with the winner of each age group receiving a family membership for Jersey Zoo.
James Pountney, Managing Director, Santander International, said: “We received a huge range of entries across all age groups featuring many varied aspects of nature. As well as raising awareness about the plight of endangered species, the competition was a brilliant opportunity for Jersey youngsters to let their imaginations go wild.”
The judging panel included James Pountney, Managing Director, Santander International, Lesley Dickie, CEO Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Mark Morgan, Chairman Jersey Reds.
Emily Neil said: “The lemurs are my favourite animal at Durrell so when I found out about the competition, I knew I wanted to include a lemur in the design. This was my first ever rugby game and it was even more exciting seeing the players wearing my design.”
Lemurs have been kept at Durrell since 1964, entrancing generations of Jersey children and Island visitors with their unusual tails and engaging family antics. Despite being a familiar zoo animal, lemurs are an endangered species, threatened with extinction due to the loss of their natural habitat in Madagascar.
The Design a Rugby Shirt Competition was part of Santander International’s sponsorship of Durrell’s Go Wild Gorilla initiative, which included a trail of 40 individually decorated gorilla sculptures around the Island.
Mark Morgan, Chairman Jersey Reds, said: “It was great to see the Reds playing in their uniquely designed ‘lemur’ shirts supporting Durrell who were also our charity of the day. We congratulate Emily Neil who designed the shirt and were delighted to welcome her as well as her Mum, Dad and younger brother Samuel to lunch in the clubhouse.”