This Friday’s European Challenge Cup clash at Dragons will be extra special for a familiar face around Franklin’s Gardens, Claire Jones.
Photographer Jones has been a fixture at Northampton Saints matches for over a decade, first capturing live images of the men in Black, Green and Gold against London Welsh on 1 September 2007.
But having followed Saints both home and away ever since, at Rodney Parade this weekend Jones will mark an astonishing 350th match photographing the side.
Known for sitting behind her lens wearing a distinctive red hat, Jones – who also works full time as Head of Application Development at PA Consulting Group – donates all of the proceeds from RedHatPhoto.com to a designated annual charity, and is this year raising money for Saints’ Wheelchair Rugby team.
From a perfect season in National Division One to 2014’s double-winning campaign and everything that has since followed, Jones has seen it all while covering Saints and has battled the rain, wind, hail and snow over the years in her pursuit of the perfect picture.
Jones will be honoured with a special half-time presentation at Saints’ home Gallagher Premiership clash against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday 1 December, which coincidentally will also mark her 200th consecutive match – with her current streak beginning with 2013’s Heineken Cup fixture against Castres.
“Everyone at Franklin’s Gardens is incredibly grateful for everything Claire does on a matchday and beyond,” said Saints chairman John White.
“People like Claire make Northampton Saints the club that it is. It’s safe to say that Franklin’s Gardens would not be the same without her.
“Here’s hoping she carries on towards many more milestones in the future.”