Northampton Saints duo Paul Hill and Lewis Ludlam were today applauded for their ‘fantastic off-pitch performance’ on being named the first joint winners of the Gallagher Community Player of the Month award.
Hill and Ludlam won out in the public vote for their role in helping to set up a new Saints initiative, with the Club joining forces with the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust to deliver maternity care at Franklin’s Gardens during the coronavirus pandemic.
With hospitals and GP surgeries under intense pressure, Saints made several boxes within the Carlsberg Stand available for Northampton General Hospital’s midwives to offer expectant mothers appropriate care, with Hill and Ludlam personally assisting in setting up the clinic.
With Gallagher Premiership Rugby targeting an August 15 return, there once again was no rugby action in May to select the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month. But there’s been no shortage of inspiring social and community stories emerging across the country during lockdown to create an impressive shortlist for Gallagher’s alternative accolade – the Community Player of the Month.
Our search to find and recognise the Premiership players who made the biggest social contribution to their local community in May produced a four-strong shortlist of inspiring stories that Gallagher and Premiership Rugby then put to the public vote.
Those on the shortlist alongside Hill and Ludlam were Bath Rugby’s Max Clark, London Irish’s Theo Brophy-Clews and Curtis Langdon from Sale Sharks.
Hill and Ludlam emerged as the winner from a fans’ poll grabbing 42% of the votes as hundreds of supporters applauded the individual actions of Gallagher Premiership players who are delivering real and meaningful difference across the country.
Leading the praise for the two players’ efforts in spearheading the project was Gallagher ambassador and Rugby World Cup winner, Nolli Waterman, who said: “Once again, we have seen the strong community spirit and can-do attitude of Gallagher Premiership Rugby players and clubs come together to deliver real and tangible benefits to local people during this coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m sure neither Paul nor Lewis foresaw a time when they would be hauling medical equipment and supplies into hospitality boxes at Franklin’s Gardens. And almost certainly not in a bid to transform those boxes into safe spaces for community midwives to welcome expectant mothers and deliver maternity care, but what a brilliant and inspired initiative this is!
“A fantastic combination of off-pitch performance by the players and donation of otherwise unused space by Saints while play is paused, making Lewis and Paul worthy winners of our final Gallagher Community Player of the Month award for the season.”
For their efforts, Hill and Ludlam win:
- A shirt signed by all the players from their club, which they will donate to Mind, the mental health charity.
- A donation from Gallagher to the Northampton Hope Centre
- The Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month trophy
Winners during the 2019-20 season
May – Paul Hill & Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)
April – Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
March – Jamal Ford-Robinson (Gloucester Rugby)
February – Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears)
January – Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)
December - Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby)
November – Tom O’Flaherty (Exeter Chiefs)