FUNDRAISING is continuing for the first international mixed ability rugby tournament which is being held in Bingley this summer, with a crowdfunding target of £50,000 and now a gala dinner.

The inaugural competition involving ten nations over five days in August is being held at Bradford & Bingley Rugby Club in Bingley - the home of the Bumble Bees, England's first mixed ability rugby team.

Organisers believe the tournament, which will involve 400 players, will cost £300,000 to stage and are busily raising the funds required.

Tournament patron, former sports minister and retired MP Gerry Sutcliffe, is hosting a gala dinner on Friday, July 3, at the Mercure Bankfield Hotel in Bingley, in an effort to raised the much-needed funds. There will be a champagne reception followed by a three course meal and entertainment, as well as guest speakers. Tickets are £750 per table of ten including wine.

He said: "I am happy to be a patron of this tournament along with Philip Davies MP and am sure that people in Bradford and in Yorkshire will be generous in supporting this unique event."

And a crowdfunding bid is aiming to raise £50,000 online by June 22 to provide accommodation and hospitality at the University of Bradford for around 400 disabled and able-bodied players. So far the internet campaign has resulted in more than £8,000 of pledges, with lots more needed in the next 24 days if the target is to be reached.

In addition organisers are looking for a main sponsor for the tournament to help raise cash for player meals, transport and public liability insurance, as well as local businesses who want to advertise at the tournament.

Mixed ability rugby, which allows players with learning or physical disabilities to play alongside able-bodied players in a full-contact game, was pioneered by the Bumble Bees.

Club manager Mark Goodwin, who is also a director of International Mixed Ability Sports, said it was important to emphasise that mixed ability is a properly inclusive sport, due to the involvement of able-boded and disabled players being on the same team.

He added that even if they hit the crowdfunding target then they would still need to bring in around a further £70,000 ahead of the tournament which runs from August 17 to 21.

He said: "This is a great way to bring truly inclusive rugby to the attention of the world and I am proud that Bradford is leading the way. I think this historic event is the just the beginning, already representatives of the French Sports Minister have expressed interest in a second event in Paris in the future."

The tournament has support from the Rugby Football Union, which is supplying coaching staff, match officials, post protectors, balls and the man of the match trophies.

In addition sport and tourism minister Helen Grant has helped secure a grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to improve accessibility at the ground.

Pledges can be made via and tickets for the gala dinner are available from Mr Sutcliffe by email on Visit or call Mr Goodwin on 07914 345004 to find out more.