New Rugby Lemur shirts designed by Emily Neil, winner of 'Design a Jersey Reds shirt competition'

Lemurs led Jersey Reds to victory in their home game against Nottingham on the 9th November 2019, taking the team to a 19-10 win on a rain-drenched pitch.

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 the Santander International’s Design a Rugby Shirt Competition, which was part of the Durrell Wildlife Conversation Trust Go Wild Gorillas Trail initiative which took place this summer.

Children were invited to enter the Santander International's Design a Jersey Reds Rugby Shirt Competition during the summer holidays. Categories for entry included 0-6 years, 7-11 years, and 12-16 years with the winner of each age group to receive a family membership for Jersey Zoo, along with some extra ‘Go Wild Gorillas’ merchandise goodies. Our overall winner had the opportunity to see there winning design being worn by the Jersey Reds team on Saturday 9th November at a home game vs Nottingham.

The judging panel included James Pountney, Managing Director, Santander International, Lesley Dickie, CEO Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Mark Morgan, Chairman Jersey Reds.

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."

Congratulations to all our winners which included our age category winners: Caélan Burns (0-6ys), Oliver Mulhern (7-11yrs), and Callum Cuthbert (12-16yrs), and our overall winner Emily Neil whose design saw the Jersey Reds adopt the lemur ring-tailored design judging their game on the Saturday 9th November.

Caelan Burns Callum Cuthbert Emily Neil with Head of Marketing, Santander International and Head Teacher Oliver Mulhern

The theme for the competition was 'Rewilding our World', which was inspired by Durrell Go Wild Gorillas initiative. Emily's colourful design features a Ring-Tailed Lemur– one of Durrell's best-known Madagascan primates. Check out the winning entries below.

Caelan Burns 0-6 yrs Winner Callum Cuthbert 12-16 yrs Winner Emily Neil Overall Winner Oliver Mulhern 7-11 yrs Winner
Manufacture mock-up of winning shirt design

Prior to the home game on the 9th November 2019, the overall winner, Emily Neil, had members of the Jersey Reds visit her school at Plat Douet School. Pupils had the opportunity to meet Jersey Reds players for a special PE lesson with the players then joining in on a French lesson learning the words for their body parts whilst joining in a game 'Simon says'.

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.

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. I’ve never been to a rugby game before and I’m really excited about seeing the players wear the shirts with my design."

These limited edition match day shirts were later sold via a silent auction raising over £5,000 with proceeds going towards Jersey Zoos new gorilla home and Jersey Reds.

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."

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."


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