Ben’s Golf Day
The standout event on the golfing calendar – a
We know what you are thinking: who is this Ben Moon from somewhere in Devon who was picked to play for England? Well, let us answer that:
Ben currently plays for the Exeter Rugby Club - Exeter Chiefs. Ben plays in the position of Prop. He has been playing with the Exeter Chiefs since October 2008 and is one of the few players in the current squad.
When Chairman Tony Rowe said that Exeter Chiefs would like to grant me a testimonial, I was delighted, excited and a little overwhelmed. Then the nerves started – I have never had to do anything like this before. Walking out at Twickenham is less daunting – at least I know what I’m doing on the rugby field. Thank you to everyone on the #backingben team for your amazing work in putting together some amazing and varied events. The nerves are settling – well almost... did someone say speeches?!
It began at Uffculme school, Cullompton RFC, Ivybridge College and South West England Rugby Academy, firstly as flanker but transitioned to prop pretty early! Craig Townsend was my Academy manager then Rob Gibson took over and set me up with some evening training sessions with the Chiefs. Pete Drewett and Rob Baxter were in charge and I was very fortunate to sign a professional contract. I made my first team debut in 2008 against Sedgley Park and sneaking in a try, (I think everyone scored one that day, it was one of those games!). I was lucky to play alongside Richie Baxter who was the highest capped player at the club. I respected him for what he had achieved and his work ethic, but he wouldn’t allow me anywhere near the back of the bus!
I knew Laura through friends, but I’m a shy lad! We met properly at a young farmers event and our first date was at Exmouth beach. I must have made a good impression because after this, Laura told her parents she had met their future son in law! I proposed to Laura in 2013, halfway up the Eiffel Tower (I wanted to go to the top, but Laura wouldn’t go up any further)! Our children (Finley and Mabel) make me proud with every milestone but, more recently, seeing them grow in confidence with swimming and riding their bikes has been special. They both love the outdoors and can be exhausting! Finley is very thoughtful and caring and Mabel will change the world! Time spent as a family at the beach or kayaking is very precious to us. We can also be found in local farm shops and cafés, sampling coffee and breakfasts!
I consider myself very fortunate to have my family around to experience and enjoy this rugby journey with me. My dad had his 50th birthday at my 100th appearance for Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons - I think they managed to vote enough times to get me man of the match that day! Obviously winning the premiership was an unbelievable experience and one I will never forget, but my biggest disappointment was not winning our first premiership final in 2016 when my dad was still alive - he would have loved to have seen us win and been so proud. The loss of my father has left a huge gap in our lives. I will forever be indebted to the great people at the Beacon Centre Hospice Care at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. They really made a difference making my fathers’ final days comfortable and helping all our family, as we edged towards the day none of us wanted to come.
To be granted a testimonial year makes me feel a few inches taller. To have played for the Chiefs makes me stand that little bit straighter. To represent my Country and wear the red rose of England makes my chest burst. But to do all this with my wife, my family, my friends and the backing of everyone in Devon and beyond is a feeling like no other. It’s going to be a great year – my instructions to the Testimonial Committee were to make it fun and affordable for everyone. The events have been meticulously planned and I really hope you can get to some of them which will help support my two chosen charities. It’s going to be a special time in mine and Laura’s lives and I know we are all going to enjoy the year and meet some great people.
Established in 2011, the Exeter Foundation was formed by the Executive of Exeter Rugby Club with some local businessmen with a passion for fundraising and rugby. As the Exeter Chiefs progressed as a team over the years, it became more and more popular with local charities and organisations as a source of income and fundraising. Now re-named the Exeter Chiefs Foundation, the charity has raised well in excess of £1m and helped over 80 projects, charities and organisations. There are two main funding sources available from the Exeter Chiefs Foundation, designated and un-designated funds. Designated funds arise from the work that charities perform for the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on match-days. These charities go through an annual application process to provide volunteer man hours on match days in return for a share of the charity money collected. Currently there are 20 charities and organisations that are based within the wider Exeter area that assist in co-ordinating and collecting all the monies on the match days for the current season which are then shared across all those who assisted in the collections. These funds are ring fenced specifically for these organisations and are distributed at the start of the following season at the Season Launch Dinner which is usually held in early September.
Ben will be raising funds for a specific piece of equipment, or if he raises enough money, for a few pieces of equipment for the Beacon Centre at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton. The Beacon Centre provides specialist care for patients - Love Musgrove is the official charity of Musgrove Park Hospital, and raises funds for improvements to patient care where routine NHS funding is not available. Musgrove Park Hospital’s Beacon Centre opened for patients in May 2009, it has made Musgrove Park Hospital, run by Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, a centre of excellence in the delivery of cancer treatments for the people of Somerset. The Beacon Centre is the first completely new development of its kind in the UK for nearly 15 years. It has been partly made possible by the massive support of the local community, who have raised over a million pounds towards equipment. Donations to the Beacon Centre have enabled the provision of equipment, furnishings and artwork to enhance the patients’ experience, whilst undergoing treatment within the Beacon Centre, over and above that which it would have otherwise been possible to provide. Continued donations will ensure that further up to date equipment can be purchased in the future.
We think you’ll agree our line up of events to celebrate Ben’s testimonial year are simply spectacular! With something for everyone, and each one a guaranteed event to remember, please don’t miss out by waiting too long to book your tickets!
The standout event on the golfing calendar – a
If golf isn’t your thing, then you don’t have to miss out on all the fun. Let your hair down at the post golf BBQ and enjoy the party!
Join Ben and a few friends for a fun filled day at River Dart Country Park with access to most of the parks activities.
Unwind after a day at the River Dart Country Park, joining Ben for an evening with the players and their families at Holne Park House.
007 comes to Devon! The name is Moon….. Ben Moon. Release your inner secret agent as we take over Deer Park.
A unique opportunity to see our finest sports stars in Exeter square off in a game of T20 cricket.
A true Devon staple; the Barn Dance will be an excuse to have a ‘right proper night’! Singing, dancing and a drink (or 2)! with Ben and friends.
Gain access to the inner sanctum! How does it feel to be an Exeter Chief on a match day? This is your exclusive chance to see it first-hand!
Fizz and fashion courtesy of John Lewis featuring Exeter Chief players plus interactive stalls for everyone.
Join Ben and some mates at the Stand off for burgers, booze and a boogie – what’s not to love!
Chat with Devon’s own England International rugby player, join Ben for a beer, burger and a pub quiz plus a tour around Hanlons Brewery.
Join us for a night of baking and laughs as Ben Moon’s team face off against Thomas Waldrom’s Team in the kitchen featuring Geoff Parling.
Settle those pre-match nerves with the stars of the show taking to the stage for some uncensored changing room tales!
An iconic game befitting a true icon of the club. Ben Moon vs …… Let’s wait and see!
Some photos from the archives.
Every great testimonial year needs a great committee and Ben's is no exception. Working tirelessly behind the scenes to organise all the events and ensure a successful year for Ben are the following:
We would not be able to hold Ben’s testimonial year if it wasn’t for the help of our amazing sponsors. We’ll be listing them all here soon and encouraging you to support them in the same way they have helped us this year.