Thousands of people flocked to Wakefield city centre for the first ever WFD Scrumday on Sunday.
Run by Wakefield BID, the free event saw the city’s Super League side Wakefield Trinity takeover the city centre including Trinity Walk and The Ridings for the day.
A big event HQ in the Bull Ring saw the club’s Magic Weekend shirt revealed at 11am as the entire first team squad arrived to a cheering crowd thanks to a specially chartered Arriva bus.
Face painting, live cheerleading shows, interactive games and a large scale training session with coach Chris Chester involving the public took over the entire Bull Ring for four hours.
A Trinity Legends panel Q&A with Neil Fox, Johnny Thompson, Ian Brooke and Geoff Oakes – all quizzed by Terry Crook – was held in The Ridings alongside a giant goalpost kick challenge and ball skills.
Trinity Walk also played host to player versus public cycling and rowing challenges, player meet and greets, ball skills games and physical disability rugby league showcase.
Event bosses estimate more than 2,000 people attended the event across the three zones and are now considering making it a new annual event for the city centre to encourage more people to visit the city and celebrate its professional sports team.
Elizabeth Murphy, Wakefield BID manager, said: “It was incredible and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Wakefield Trinity badges around the city centre. The city was buzzing, especially for a Sunday which is often quiet – and that’s why we did it when we did.
“There are always a few nerves when you are trying to break the mould and do something new and different, but the club were amazing as were the event partners, staff and two shopping centres. It showed what can be done when we work together, be brave and create a ‘one city’ approach. The three zones meant footfall flowed around the city centre, rather than just one place and it gave people a reason to explore. No event is perfect, but this was an amazing start and we’ll now discuss collectively about holding it again next year.”
Verity Thomas, Commercial Manager of Wakefield Trinity RLFC, said: “To be able to takeover the city for the day was just fantastic. The players loved it, the staff loved it and most importantly the public and fans really seemed to enjoy it. There were so many smiling faces and at times there was a sea of Trinity shirts, jackets, coats and hats.
“We are a community-focused club and our city makes us who we are. We are immensely proud of Wakefield and want to see it grow – that’s why partnering with the ambitious Wakefield BID to do something new, big and positive made absolute sense and we are all glad we did.”
Wakefield BID was voted into existence by Wakefield businesses to create a business plan to help support and promote the city centre. It is not there to replace official authorities, but add additional benefits to improve the perception, experience and promotion of the city centre.
The shooting star on the Kirkgate roundabout at Christmas, extra Christmas lights, the first ever WFD Restaurant Week, a new WFD Cocktails event, SmartWater can tagging, Yorkshire’s first Drink Aware Club Crew and other projects have all been led or backed by the BID. For more see www.wakefieldbid.co.uk