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Surrey Development Festival

Surrey Rugby holding investigation into problems at last recent Mini event...

Message from Steve Robinson, Chairman of Cobham RFC Mini Section


Please find an update from Surrey Rugby on the Surrey Festival at Sutton & Epsom.

It is our hope that this investigation will consider all aspects of the event and not just the ‘C’ element.

We will, of course, keep you advised as more information as this becomes available.


Surrey Rugby acknowledges that problems were experienced by some clubs at the above festival. This was a Surrey backed event and it is important to emphasise that Surrey has been organising such events over many years very effectively and without hitch.  This event was planned in the same manner as all such County Mini Festivals by the County's Mini and Junior Committee. In view of a number of issues which arose locally, exacerbated by extenuating circumstances which were outside the organisers' control, we have organised a full review to take place later this week. This review will be conducted by the following:

Malcolm Caird                  Chairman, Surrey Rugby

Peter Vernon                    Chairman, Surrey CBRDP

Rachel Wright                  Chairman, Surrey Mini & Youth Committee

Peter Jenkins                   President, Sutton & Epsom RFC

Others will be asked to provide information as required.


Gail Shenton will also be involved in this review. Gail is one of the leading lights in the organisation of the Surrey A Festival to be held at Dorking on April 19. If there are any immediate issues which arise from the review of the C Festival, they can be taken into account in the organisation of that Festival.

The preliminary findings from this review will be considered by Surrey Rugby’s Management Committee when it meets on April 6. Thereafter, all clubs with mini sections (ie not only those participating at Sutton) will be advised as to the outcome of this review and lessons to be learned: this may take a short while to finalise. This will cover the review, but will also reinforce the obligations which the County and all clubs must follow regarding the RFU continuum rules relating to Mini Festivals. We are already aware that numerous clubs are not fully conversant with these regulations.

There were those on the day who became very abusive towards the organisers. The County takes a very serious stance on the subject of abuse from clubs’ members at any rugby event and will not under any circumstances tolerate abuse the like of which was experienced by far too many of the volunteers last Sunday. This behaviour does little to eradicate problems such as were experienced and we must not lose sight of the meaning of these festivals, which were instigated as a further event to augment the Surrey A Festival, at the specific request of member clubs.



Chairman, Surrey Rugby




Cobham Rugby have sent an official communication to Surrey RFU and the Festival organisers to detail our concerns about the Festival. 

The following is a communication that we have received from the Surrey organisers on Monday March 23rd:

Dear All,

I offer you all an unreserved apology for the problems encountered at yesterday’s festival. This apology comes from me personally as Chair of the county Minis section and also as a club member at Sutton & Epsom. Please believe me when I say that your disappointment and frustration is shared by both the County Festival Committee and the club organisers.

We are currently investigating the problems and will revert to you all when we have decided the fairest way to deal with the issues arising. It would be inappropriate for me to opine or act further until I am aware of all the facts but please be assured that it is a matter or priority.

Rachel Wright

Chairman Minis & Youth Rugby

Surrey Rugby


We will keep all Cobham Mini age groups informed of progress through the website and usual channels.