Just before the rugby world cup last year, I received a tweet from O2 Sports on Twitter asking me to get in touch about applying to join what was dubbed as The Rose Army, a selection of social media people who are nuts about England rugby, and let's face it, a little bit daft....
Firstly, I was a little sceptical about being part of what seemed to be a marketing campaign, but after speaking to Gemma from Rose England, my fears were allayed and I gladly put my name up for selection to the initial 100 soldiers.
The point of #weartheorse is simple, we help to promote and build up England matches through our Social Media accounts, as well as this we partake in challenges, which have ranged from a simple selfie, going up to trying to get the opposition fans to #weartherose, which is not as easy as it seems!
I was lucky enough to be selected to the 100 strong team alongside many of the #rugbyunited account holders (I won't name them all, as I'd definitely miss someone out and don't want to cause offence!) just before I went to Rhodes on my second honeymoon, and thanks to Starbucks at Rhodes harbour having free Wifi, I was able to join in the very first challenge, which was a selfie taken whilst wearing the rose of England Rugby, I would include my photo, but it was 40 odd degrees and I was a hot sweaty mess!
That was by far the easiest challenge we've undertaken yet. I've asked the Rose Army to provide their favourite moments so far so you can see a range of the awesome things we've been able to do.
"I quite enjoyed this but it's a love hate feeling... That was the day we lost to Wales."
Andrew Cleaver said "Going to #WearTheRose LIVE at the O2. (the official send off for the England team prior to the World Cup, which included a Take That concert!) The speech that SL gave about being more 'front-footed' in regards being English was stirring and VERY uplifting!!! Musical Challenge was also great (busman's holiday for me) as was getting 'non-rugby' supporters to #WearTheRose - managed the Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey team! But, most of all - meeting new people and making new friends (not just on FB but in person) via our shared love of all things ENGLAND RUGBY!!"
Victoria Redshaw - I have a long list:
-Filming people explaining why they support England rugby. My mum ensured the gin bottle wasn't in shot and my dad rambled on about Tom and Ben Youngs coming from farming stock.
-Meeting up with Andrew Cleaver at Bristol with Andrea and Anne.
-#WearTheRose live and THAT speech by SL. Awesome. (Oh and Take That. )
- Using the excuse that I'm in the Rose Army to lead an assembly about Make them giants.
- My jaunt to France and meeting Sara, Amiee, Colin, Richard and BoJack. Truly incredible.
Andrea Crellin - "Getting this guy in a #WearTheRose badge"
Marie Couchman - Being asked to join #RoseArmy and the awkward looks from people at V festival when i asked them for a photo/video if they were wearing the Rose
Sandy Masterman - Almost too many to mention but will give abridged version:
1. Being asked to join
2. Meeting Jonny
3. Getting the legend that is Sir Ian Botham showing his support for England on video
4. Getting Howard Packman to join in the first video challenge showing all the Premiership Clubs were supporting England
5. This w/e getting selfies with England supporters - particularly difficult as I have dropped & broken my phone Alexis Saffin to the rescue on that one!
6. Whenever I catch a glimpse of me or Rose Army members I have met in the video montages!
There was so many more of the pictures and memories, If I was to include them all, this blog would end up like War and Peace!
As you can see, the 100 members have bonded, (largely over a beer or 3) and it's now a cracking Social Club of likeminded rugby fans all lending their support, not just to the campaign, but to England Rugby.
The O2 bods that put this all together have decided they want to expand so the Rose Army will double in size by the end of the 6 Nations (see the #weartherose hashtag for details for how you can put yourself up for selection) and I doubt it will stop there.
The main point of this blog is to ask the England fans on social media to keep helping us grow! If some crazy person asks you to film yourself singing a line of Jerusalem, or photograph yourself wearing the Rose whilst in another country, or even to bake a cake in the shape of the Rose, PLEASE help us out. You may end up appearing on the roof of the O2 (as many of us have....in photographic form) with a tweet, or in the paper, in a video, on the O2 website, hell, do all that and you'd be equally as famous as half of the Celebrity Big Brother numpties!
The Rose Army will continue to grow, and we may be the selected few to do the legwork, but EVERY England fan is a member of the Rose Army by proxy and we really need and appreciate the help we get!!
I look forward to the opportunity of meeting as many of the Rose Army as possible!!!!