FORMER Rugby World Cup winning scrum half Andy Gomarsall has paid a visit to a boat-building workshop to claim a prize won by his father Jack.

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Mr Gomarsall snr, owner of the Bury St Edmunds-based IT assets management company Network 2 Supplies, won a boat built by Workwise trainees at the recent High Sheriff’s Charity Auction.

And he was joined by his rugby star son to collect the boat and to launch a new enterprise partnership between his company and Workwise, at its premises in Chamberlayne Road.

During an illustrious career, Gomarsall junior was capped 35 times for England and played in three World Cups, including the victorious 2003 campaign and appeared in the final of the 2007 tournament.

He made 200 appearances in the English Premiership representing Bath, Wasps, Worcester, Bedford, Gloucester, Harlequins and Leeds.

His father, whose business is based in Hillside Road, said: “When I saw the boat, I knew I must have it.

“Andrew’s daughters, Indianna and Olivia, have just taken up sailing so I got it for them to practise in.

“At the time, I didn’t know anything about Workwise or what they do, but I have since found out the work they do, and the contribution they make to our local community is first-class.

“As a result, we have now formed a partnership which will see customers coming to my company on work placements and we may also be able to place some orders to help the charity raise some revenue.

“When I told Andrew about Workwise and the work they do, he said he wanted to be involved.”

Established in 1986, operating from three sites in Bury St Edmunds, Workwise has helped more than 5,000 people with long-term mental health issues back into work, to gain qualifications or to take part in community activities.

Each year nearly 50 people gain a national qualification through training provided by Workwise, many of whom go on to further education.

In the past, the charity has helped 66 of its trainees into paid employment, 82 into work-based training and another 63 into voluntary positions. Valerie Beresford, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We were delighted to welcome both Andrew and Jack to visit our workshop.

“We are proud they have been impressed by what we do and the partnership arrangement is an exciting development for us.”

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