WORCESTER Warriors’ Kerry Simons was among the prize winners at the annual Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards at the House of Commons.

Kerry, who works with the Warriors Homeless Rugby team, was presented with the PLAY Achiever of the Year Award, which recognises those who have overcome physical, cultural or social barriers to become involved in the game, whilst embodying the spirit of the PLAY campaign.

She was joined by fellow nominee Seth Mensah of Harlequins and they both ended up taking home the prize, after the judges were unable to separate them, as they pipped George Lambert, of Bristol Bears, and Sale Sharks’ Henry Hibbert-Jones to the gong.

Kerry was recognised after becoming involved in the Worcester Warriors Homeless Rugby team, despite having no previous background in the sport and, by her own admission, being quite anti-rugby.

Over a two-year period, Kerry was convinced to take part in sessions and took part in her first game of touch rugby in October 2017 as she overcame her high level of anxiety.

Her attitude to rugby has now completely changed and she has transitioned into playing contact rugby at Five Ways Old Edwardians WRFC, being voted captain and playing a crucial role in recruiting new players to join the team.

“It’s immense and I wasn’t expecting to be even shortlisted for this,” Kerry said. “The stories of other people I was up against are phenomenal and to come joint first, it’s hard to explain.

“The team has helped with my confidence and before it I wouldn’t go to anything like this and to be on stage that’s a massive increase on what I was able to do beforehand.

“I have gained so much self-belief as I never really believed in myself until the team helped me believe in myself, so with the push from the team that has helped big time.

“Without the team I probably wouldn’t have got the job I just got and I would probably be doing the same stuff as I was before, just dossing around and doing nothing.

“It took two years for the team to persuade me to go and join and I was adamant I wasn’t going to do it, but the team and the people who were there just pushed me on.

“I’ve enjoyed taking on more of a leadership role as there’s a lot of people in different circumstances and to be able to use my experience to help them move forward is really immense.

“Helping others as captain just puts a smile on my face and this award is for the team as they are the ones who have helped me get where I am and I want to thank them.”

To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, visit premiershiprugby.com/in-the-community or join the conversation #RugbyChangingLives