Becoming a Viking – Diary of a MA Player

by | Feb 15, 2019 | Blog


My name is Ian Bourne and I was born in 1966 with Cerebral Palsy as a result of the umbilical cord getting wrapped around my neck at birth, leading to brain damage which affects both my speech and co-ordination. I have always strived to lead as normal a life as I possibly can, working as an administrator for the Local Authority for 25 years and living independently for 20 years.

Upon being made redundant in 2013 I embarked on a variety of projects. These included: delivering my ‘Bourne Different’ talks on disability, diversity, hate crime and bullying; becoming a member of an Awareness and Employability Forum; becoming a trustee for an Autism drop-in centre and finally, volunteering at a school for children with complex disabilities. It is here that I met Stuart Crooks, the Pastoral Manager at ‘Freddies’ who is also Head Coach at Hessle RUFC.

He asked me if I was interested in playing a game I have loved and watched since I was a child, I certainly didn’t need asking twice!

When I thought about it with some diligence and scrutiny, I identified dexterity may prove an insurmountable barrier – the only thing I’d ever caught is a cold!  Well that fear was blown out of the water by our coaches who were quick to demonstrate different ways of both passing and receiving a rugby ball. Our leaders in Stuart, Mally King, Greg Bone and Linus Penna are magnificent people and patient beyond words.

Starting my sporting career at 51, I have now been playing rugby for the ‘Hessle Vikings’ Mixed Ability team for two years. I am proudly associated with some wonderful people who have made my dream of playing rugby and donning the colours of a sporting team come true.

It illustrates that anyone can do whatever they desire to do, it may not be at the echelons of international gladiatorial combat, but it proves a point – If you are willing to try, you can participate!

There is nothing to stop you, apart from your own self doubt. Anybody can do anything through determination, motivation and drive. We are lucky at Hessle, we are encouraged by wonderful and inspirational people who coach, manage and volunteer for our wonderful club!


Thanks to Ian for providing such an eloquent account of his involvement in MA Rugby!

To find out more about how you could get involved in MA Rugby via the Try for Change Project, or to start a team in your club please contact Mike Hawkes on



Mike Hawkes

Mike Hawkes


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