Claire Jones with Dylan Hartley and the Aviva Premiership trophy ©www.redhatphoto.com
Club News Red Hat Photo raises funds for Restart
Northampton Saints' successes on the pitch this season have had many positive knock-on effects, not least in helping to raise funds for Restart, the Rugby Players' Association charity.
Claire Jones of Red Hat Photo, one of the club's photographers, has donated all of the money received by selling her photos of the Saints' matches in 2013/14 to Restart, raising nearly £1,500 in the process.
Claire, whose red hat has brought her recognition from Saints supporters who have travelled up and down the country, has been pitch side at every one of the 43 games played this season, from a sunny October Saturday in Castres to the driving hail at Rodney Parade in January.
Of course that has also included the triumph at Leinster, the disappointment at Sandy Park and the end of season silverware earned at Cardiff Arms Park and Twickenham in those memorable eight days in May.
Throughout the season supporters have been ordering photos from the Red Hat Photo website, with the best of the bunch being collated into a special publication available exclusively from the Saints Superstore and Saints Online Store, proceeds of which are also going to Restart.
“I love what I do when I am pitch side,” she says. “I’ve managed to combine my two passions – Northampton Saints and photography. This season I set myself the goal of going to every match – I couldn’t have known that Saints would do so well and get to every final.
“Every weekend since last August has been a combination of travelling, photographing the game and then working on my photos. I’ve sat in driving rain in Salford on a Thursday night; survived the bizarre hail and bright sunshine in Newport; been on the flight from hell into Dublin and enjoyed the glorious sunshine at Twickenham in May – every one of the 10,320 miles I travelled was worth it. It’s meant I’ve been able to create a complete photographic record of Saints' most successful season – that gives me a real buzz!
“The players make it really easy – although, they aren’t trying to be photogenic when you get reactions such as Tom Wood’s when he had scored his try in the Aviva Premiership semi-final, it is a photographer’s dream. Grabbing a great photo is the angler’s equivalent of getting that really big fish – I’ve been lucky enough to be the right place at the right time, many times this season.
“I never ceased to be amazed by the reaction of the supporters to my work – my daft red hat means I am instantly recognisable and the kind feedback I get about my photos is very gratifying. It was also, a honour to be recognised by the club when I was awarded Clubman of the Month with my fellow togs, Andy Taylor and Ade Segun. Andy and Ade are great fun to work with and are both accomplished photographers who provide a different view of Saints to me.
“The best feedback of all is when people buy my photos and my fees go to Restart. The Restart team do amazing work with players who need support either as a result of career ending injuries or have met post-career challenges that require them to have a helping hand.
“I can’t wait to get back in harness when the season starts in a few weeks time and I get to do it all over again.”
Supporters can order any of Claire's photographs at www.redhatphoto.com
And 'The Double: 2013/14 In Pictures' can be ordered now by CLICKING HERE
The past year has seen the Saints' charity work go from strength-to-strength, with Dylan Hartley's Front Mo Union raise nearly £50,000 for Movember, the Travis Perkins Big Christmas Toy Collection receive enough donations from supporters to help hundreds of young people in care throughout Northamptonshire, the LU15 campaign raise much-needed funds and awareness of Osteosarcoma (a rare form of children's bone cancer), £33,000 be collected in match day bucket shakes, and over £250,000-worth of items given to charities and good causes.