Sir Bill Beaumont
England were terrible. Two Wooden Spoons in four years, without a title since 1963, and dominated by Wales. But captain Bill Beaumont fancied their chances and began a quest that would take in a Grand Slam, a sports quiz show, world rugby’s governing body, and make him a knight of the realm.
The Fylde Coast stretches from the neon-lit, kiss-me-quick, donkey-riding, rollercoaster-rumpus of Blackpool, right down to the considerably more serene and understated Lytham. It’s at this juncture that the coastline decides it’s had enough of being battered by the Irish Sea and makes an estuary inland so it can escape towards the cosy Ribble Valley.
You’ll know you’re in Lytham because there’s a white windmill right on the seafront, and there’s also some quite lovely houses overlooking the sometimes barren, regularly beaten, but beautiful coastline which, incidentally, has also been known to produce some quite delicious cockles in its time.
Together with its neighbour, St Anne’s-on-the-Sea, and two speck-like villages of Ansdell and Fairhaven, it forms Lytham St Annes, a seaside resort that was once much fancied by wealthy cotton mill owners, enticing them to leave their Lancashire industrial heartland for a bit of fresh sea air in their retirement.
They probably deserved the rest too, because, at one point, the 2,500 or so Lancastrian cotton mills were churning out more than half the world’s cotton, exporting eight billion yards of cloth and employing more than 400,000 people in the process.
One of those mill owners was Joseph Hargreaves, who set up a mill in Chorley, back in 1888. He didn’t move to Lytham, but one of his descendants did and, right now, he’s standing on the blustery sea front, looking ‘enigmatically’ out to sea wearing a v-neck Fylde RUFC club jumper. He’s dutifully following the instruction of our photographer who’s asked him to look into the distance, ‘enigmatically’. “What does he want me to be, King Cnut?,” laughs Sir Bill Beaumont at our photographer’s request, before going on to point out that the local council are spending £18m on the sea defences here.
The chairman of World Rugby has lived in these parts for some twenty years, and while he didn’t do so as part of that early 19th-century nouveau riche property trend, he does have his business roots in the cotton industry. The company that Joseph Hargreaves set up did eventually, after a bit of zigzagging through maternal and paternal descendants, find its way down to Bill. “The textile business was on my mother’s side of the family,” explains Bill, having pointed out that we can just call him ‘Bill’ without the ‘Sir’ prefix, “my father’s side were the academics.
“The mill closed down in the mid-60s, but I remember going to it as a kid though, with all the noise of the looms working. If you went to Blackburn, there’d be 20 to 30 mills, same with Burnley and Accrington – they all had these huge big mills.
“The family were cotton weavers and they used to weave fabric and sell it all over the place, but then, when they couldn’t compete with the imports, the business still continued selling textiles. My son, Daniel, runs it now, and he’s renamed it Bill Beaumont Textiles and they deal in household textiles for big retail operations, like Dunelm, John Lewis, those sort of people.”
Bill joined the business as a teenager. “I was the dogsbody, at 18,” he says, “a jack of all trades, master of none. Going into the family business seemed like an easy option at the time, and then I ended up basically doing everything there, running it. We had some very successful years, some good years. We won the Queen’s Export Award one year, we did very, very well, it was hard work though, it’s not luck.”
As we drive towards our next stop, Fylde Rugby Union Club, we share the local claims to fame we’d heard from the waiting staff at our hotel. Local celebs apparently included Les Dawson, “he’s got a statue in St Anne’s,” confirms Bill. There’s also, allegedly, Colin Hendry, Jonas Armstrong (who played Robin Hood – his mum lives in St Anne’s), Professor Lupin from Harry Potter (aka David Thewlis), Gordon Ramsay came up here for fish and chips (confirmed, a cracking place called Whelan’s) and Cannon and Ball. “It’s Bobby Ball that lives here,” corrects Bill, before adding, “and George Formby lived here too, there’s a blue plaque somewhere.”
Some of our celebrity finds, he suspects, are actually from Blackpool, not Lytham St Annes, but Bill is happy to discuss the area. He points out a green just visible between the houses that is part of Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, a course that’s hosted the Open eleven times, dating from 1926 to 2012 and the Ryder Cup twice. Yesterday it hosted Bill, a 20 handicapper. He didn’t play too bad.
We arrive at Fylde RUFC. Inside, the club is busy, either in the rugby development office or the events and functions – there’s actually a funeral today. In fact it’s something of a model of what a forward-thinking rugby club should be, and even in National Two, it can still pull in the punters. “There was 1,800 people here for the Preston game over Christmas,” says Bill, whose story with the club goes back long before he moved there from Chorley.
“My first memory of rugby is when my father brought me here when there was an England trial up at the old clubhouse in 1964, so I would have been 11 or 12,” says Bill. “It was the club’s 50th anniversary when I joined in 1969, and that was the first time I came here for training, it’s the centenary next year.”
His rugby life began at fly-half. “I was lighter in those days,” he says, adding, “but I’ve always had quite good hands.” He then played full-back until he was 17, before the senior coaches at Fylde RUFC put a stop to all the backs nonsense. “They said, ‘no chance’, you’re a forward.”
He went for county schoolboy selection as a prop, but didn’t get selected. He moved to second row and began his senior career, in Fylde’s 6th XV. Even just saying ‘6th XV’ sparks nostalgia. “Where have they all gone?” he asks. “Here, they used to have six teams and now they’ve got four, and that’s now replicated everywhere. It’s a big concern for rugby.
“Rugby clubs have had to change over the years, they were very much the focal point of the community – and I think this club still is,” he says. “People come here on a Saturday because they’ve been coming here for years, they can walk to the ground, they have mates here, it’s a proper rugby club this. They used to have some fantastic dances on a Saturday night, it was the place to go before your discos, teams would stay until 11 at night. There was less pressure then, every game was a friendly, but you played hard and wanted to win every game.”
It was at Fylde that he met his wife, Hilary, and two of his three sons played for the side. Sam was club captain and played more than 250 games before recently retiring, while Josh turned out for the club too before his professional career took off. “The interesting thing is that nobody got married during the rugby season, nobody missed a game because they were going shopping or anything like that,” he says. “Nowadays when they’re getting paid, as part-timers, there is so much choice. For me, I never had a Saturday off from rugby from the beginning of September, you just didn’t, rugby is what you did. Your social life revolved around the rugby club.”
In the days before the league systems, county was everything, with Lancashire to North [of England], to England, being a well-trodden route for international honours. Northern clubs were strong and the big hitters from elsewhere, the likes of Gloucester and Leicester, were regular visitors. “If you got into the county team you were on your way,” he says. “I loved the rugby way of life, the club atmosphere, and I suddenly realised I was doing okay, I was doing alright, playing second row against international players. I remember going to play at the Reddings [former home of Moseley] and they said I was playing against Nigel Horton [England and British & Irish Lions lock] and I said, ‘who’s he?’.”
He made it into a Lancashire side full of internationals including the likes of Fran Cotton, Steve Smith, John Carleton and Tony Neary. “People forget how this area produced really good rugby players, admittedly a lot of them played league, but they were really good rugby players,” he says. “I always think a true rugby player needs a bit of footballing instinct, nobody really needs to tell you when to pass or when to hang on to the ball, because you know instinctively.”
Lancashire reached the county finals, and Bill found himself selected in the squad for England against Ireland, albeit on the bench. “Roger Uttley cried off and John Burgess, who was the England coach but had also been Lancashire’s, said look ‘you’re picked’. There were a lot of second rows who were better than me at the time, so it was out of the blue and I’d never even been to Ireland in my life. And so I was going to Lansdowne Road and making my debut against Willie John McBride. We lost 12-9. We should have won the game but being against him, having just come back from the undefeated Lions tour to South Africa, he came back into it and he was the hero.”
Bill didn’t play in the Five Nations again that year, but was called up for the Australia tour, where England lost two from three. “I got to the end of 1975 and was ready for the 1976 season and just said, ‘right, this is it’ and trained even harder.”
In the days before mainstream gyms, this meant a more back-to-basics workout. “I never went to the gym in my life,” he says. “Every day I would do 200 press-ups, 200 sit-ups, and go for a run.
“I said to my son Josh the other day, ‘do you know, every Christmas day I used to go for a run, I’d run five miles every Christmas day’. He said, ‘why did you do that?’ ‘Because I wanted to be as fit as I could’. The Five Nations used to start on the third week of January so I wanted to be fit. It becomes a guilt thing when you don’t do the training.”
Travelling down to England training with his Lancashire team-mates Steve Smith, Fran Cotton and Tony Neary, the quartet would also do extra training sessions in addition to the twice-weekly club routine. It would pay dividends, as Lancashire would provide the spine of a side that would achieve incredible things.
On the work front, Bill continually progressed, but life was about rugby. “My colleagues at the office got me a little figure and it said ‘don’t disturb me, I’m resting up for the weekend’,” he laughs. “Like a lot of players, what kept you going during the monotony of work was thinking about who you were playing Saturday. It’d be Monday morning and you’d be thinking, ‘right Leicester away this weekend, that’ll be hard work’.”
Although he’d cemented his place in the England side, the results weren’t there, and he’d lose in seven of his first eight caps. “I played a complete season [for England] where we lost every game,” he says. “We had a good forward pack but we still lost. In 1976 we lost every game, in 1977 we won a couple, and I went down to New Zealand with the Lions as sixth choice.
“I arrived out there as a replacement, a month into the tour, and met them all at the airport, and it was ‘hiya lads, how you doing?’” he says of his first Lions tour. “You knew the other players, but didn’t know them well, there wasn’t the European Cup then. So the only time you’d have seen them was when England played Ireland or Wales and had a few beers after the game and that was it, you’d never see them again unless you played for the Barbarians.
“I got there and thought, I’m a Lion now, but actually what I wanted to do was prove to John Dawes and George Burrell, who were coach and manager, that they should have picked me in the first place. And that’s what drove me in every training session: to try and prove to myself and also to my peers, that I could play.”
Like with many coaches, he knew the familiarity of the coaches with his Test rivals was against him. “It’s not a criticism but you do tend to pick players that you know and, if you’re the Welsh national coach, then it’s obvious that you know your players better than those you only see on an annual basis.”
Nonetheless, three weeks after arriving on tour, he’d start in three Tests, losing two. “I came back from that thinking I’d done alright,” he says.
Then it was back for another tough Five Nations campaign for England, as they always were during that period. “It was a great Welsh era,” he says, acknowledging the four Wales championship wins in his first five campaigns. “France were always good, and we were always scratching around with Ireland and Scotland trying to catch the bits they dropped off the table.”
From his five campaigns leading up the 1980 season, Bill had won just five matches from 17 Five Nations Tests, with England finishing bottom on two occasions, fourth once and reaching the giddy heights of third once. “The size of England was its weakness,” he explains. “Whereas other countries didn’t have as many players to pick, so they got more continuity, we had so much competition that for somebody in England to play a lot of games was quite unusual.”
That first season back after the 1977 Lions was a mixed one. “I came back thinking, right, I’ve got in the Test team, the forwards have played well, so let’s kick on.
“I wanted to do well for England, I was captain, and then we lost the first game in Paris against the Grand Slam champions, second game we lost to Wales at home, we beat Scotland away and zero’d them, which was always good, and then beat Ireland at home, so it wasn’t a bad season for England in those days.”
A defeat to New Zealand in the autumn would cost Bill, as he was stripped of the captaincy. “We had one training session before we played New Zealand on their Grand Slam tour,” he recalls. “It was a cock-eyed selection and we got beat. I think I just took the hit for it.
“I then lost my place in the team ahead of the final trial [before the next Five Nations], it was just before Christmas, and that’s when I trained every single minute, all the time, to get my place back in the team. We had a final trial and I got switched back into the England side.
“Roger [Uttley] was captain though, and we drew against Scotland at home, and then he cried off with injuries before the Ireland game so I was reinstated as captain the morning of the game.”
Yet another mixed campaign ended with defeat to Wales, as a solitary victory over France, coupled with the draw, saw them finish fourth.
Not exactly championship contenders, England then toured Tonga, Fiji and Japan, playing four ‘Tests’ as an England XV, winning all four. With new coach Mike Davis, Bill started to forge a new relationship. “And everything clicked into place,” he says.
Nobody expected England to win the 1980 Grand Slam. Or even win more than a couple of games. Losing had become the norm, and it often hit the players hard, including Bill. “When you play for your country it’s such an honour and you always think you’re going to win,” he says. “But there’s nothing worse than that awful feeling when you come home through airports or motorway service stations and you’ve been beaten. The England supporters will look at you and say, ‘unlucky, lads’, but deep down you’re thinking, ‘they think we’re a bunch of tossers really’.”
The change came when the All Blacks visited Otley to play the Northern Division in November 1979. “That was a turning point, there were about 8,000 people there, and the North beat them. We had five British & Irish Lions in that team, Fran Cotton, myself, Roger Uttley, Tony Neary and Peter Dixon, there was only a couple in the whole team that hadn’t played for England, and we beat them easily too, four tries to one [21-9].”
A week later, England played the same All Blacks, but lost. “They should have picked the same team, the England selectors, but they didn’t, and we lost by a point.”
Nonetheless, the two performances had given Bill confidence ahead of the 1980 Five Nations. “I thought we would win the championship because we had enough good players to do it,” he admits. “But the frustrating thing was we always had enough good players but we never got picked at the same time.”
Ireland, who had just beaten Australia, were the first opponents. “We were 9-3 down after 20 mins but then we won comfortably [24-9], and you started to think ‘crikey’, it was the first time at Twickenham we’d really given somebody a good hiding. That had never happened to me playing for England – we’d won games, but never like that.”
A second game away to France, who had some key players missing, England were so comfortable in their ascendency, they could afford to play with a man down. “I remember Roger Uttley going off to get some stitches done, but rather than bring anyone on, we were that confident in our scrum that we said, ‘we’ll just have seven’.”
Another win. “Then we started to think, ah, we’ve got a chance of doing something now.”
Wales next. “It was a dreadful game of rugby,” he continues, “it had been built up around the miner’s strike and things like that, not a savoury game. Paul Ringer [Wales flanker] got sent off, for probably what wasn’t the worst thing that happened in that game, and I had a lot of sympathy for David Burnett [the Irish referee], he was in a invidious position.
“At one point we were losing, playing against 14 men, and I just thought ‘what are the headlines going to be tomorrow? England bottled it.’ I thought this was the only chance I’d have of a Grand Slam and I was going to kiss it all goodbye, but Dusty [Hare] kicked a penalty and we won.”
Scotland stood between England and a first Grand Slam since 1957. “I always fancied our chances against Scotland,” says Bill, “but like most teams they’d have taken great satisfaction in stopping England.”
The reality was they never got close to halting Bill’s side, as England cruised to a 30-18 win and an unbeaten Five Nations campaign. England had picked the right players. Eight of the North side that had beaten the All Blacks had played a role in the Grand Slam. “You come off the pitch and you look around the dressing room and it’s the same bunch of lads you’ve been with for years. You’ve been in lots of different dressing rooms, lots of different countries, counties, club grounds, and you’re all still mates really.”
The reaction was unlike anything any England rugby side had experienced for decades. “Nobody expected it, so all of a sudden English rugby was on the front page of the newspaper,” says Bill. “Everyone was, ‘wow, England have done something, England have won something’. Up to then it had always been Wales, Wales, Wales.”
And Bill was the face of it. “It changed for me personally because all of a sudden you’re in demand – articles, TV interviews, things like that.
“Then I went and captained the Lions in South Africa, where we lost the Test series but we could have won.”
Back to the Five Nations and Wales were first up, condemning the champions to defeat in a campaign that would see the return of mixed fortunes, winning two, losing two. “81 was a struggle with England,” admits Bill. “A few players had retired and – this is why I admire someone like Alex Ferguson who does it year-in, year-out – mentally trying to get players up again, to get them thinking that this is bigger than last year – is tough.”
It was his final full Five Nations. Later that year he toured Argentina and won a series against a tough home side including the great Hugo Porta, he beat Australia at Twickenham in January 1981 before playing what would be his final international against Scotland at Murrayfield. “We went up to Murrayfield and drew, then I played for Lancashire in the county final and got a bang on the back of my head. I went to a neurologist and to be honest I’d really been hiding, for a number of years, that I probably wasn’t feeling 100 per cent most of the time, but had carried on playing.
“I can think of a few occasions where I got knocked out playing, but just got up and got on with it. It was stupid, but now, nobody does it. That’s the real good thing about the game nowadays – you don’t have to be brave and stay on the rugby field.”
Sensible as it was, it left Bill at a loss. “I thought, here I am, at 29, what am I going to do with my life? Everything revolved around rugby. My business life, social life, everything revolved around me playing rugby for England and that disappeared. Fortunately, I then had A Question of Sport which actually filled in a gap in my life.”
Aged 29, with 34 England caps, Bill never played rugby again.
Bill was a captain on A Question of Sport for 14 years, facing off, at different times, against rival captains Ian Botham, Emlyn Hughes and Willie Carson. “I just got a phone call from David Coleman, saying, “I’m thinking of a change of captain, do you fancy doing it?” I thought, ‘do I ever!’ I loved it, absolutely loved it. I’ve got a really good sporting knowledge.”
Initially there was a crossover with his two careers. “When I first started doing A Question of Sport, I was still a player, so I had to give the fee to the RFU – £2,000 for the series of 12 weeks.”
It wasn’t the only time the amateur status of rugby had hit him either. “I wrote a book with Ian Robertson and, in those days, if you wrote a book, and kept the proceeds, you were professionalised and so I was banned from rugby. I couldn’t play, couldn’t coach.”
On the plus side, with the book coming after the TV, as it made him ‘professional’, he then got to keep the money from A Question of Sport.
Like his playing days though, especially the early years with England, even on A Question of Sport, victory would often be snatched from his grasp. “You knew that when you were three nil up, you were going to go down because they didn’t want you to go too far ahead,” he says. “So they’d fix the questions and make them too hard.”
Getting a sporting fix from the BBC show, Bill continued to build his textile business, while remaining, as always, involved with Fylde.
The next major step into the world of rugby was just around the corner and he was arriving at one of the most pivotal times in the game’s history. “In 1995, the RFU decided they’d have two ‘national members’ on the committee – ex-players who hadn’t been through the committee system. Three weeks after I joined, the game went professional.
“Nobody envisaged the game would be like it is now, that there would be professional rugby clubs, that you’d have millionaire owners, that players would travel all over the globe playing club rugby – nobody could’ve seen that.”
In 1999, he joined the International Rugby Board, representing the RFU. “I could see that the north was well behind the southern hemisphere,” he says. “They were well organised in their tournaments, their competitions, their structures and they were a very strong force, whereas the north tended to be a bit fragmented between England and France and the Celtic Nations.
“It’s only now that Europe are really strong because they’re united, before, there was always a bit of turmoil.”
Representing England on the committee wasn’t without challenges, especially if decisions didn’t always go their way. “Often I had to go back to Twickenham and say, ‘look we’ve made these decisions, they’re in the best interests of the world game, or the European game, and maybe not in the best interests of England.
“You would have to justify those decisions, but people respected you, and when you explained why you’d done it, then they understood why things weren’t absolutely perfect for England all the time.”
After becoming chairman of the RFU in 2012, he then replaced Bernard Lapasset as chairman of World Rugby in 2016. In his time on the international committee, World Rugby had not only changed name (from the IRB) but had expanded, going from 21 nations to the 123 it is now. Some things haven’t changed. The agenda when he started on the committee? “The global season,” he says. “There were concerns around that but as a result of those meetings we now have regulation nine [the release of players by clubs for international duty] which had meant moving everyone to playing on the same weekends.”
Some things have changed though. “You’ve now got regional representation which you didn’t have before, on the full council, you’ve got women represented on the council, as is right, you’ve got 15 women, which is superb.”
“In May, there’s Fiji and Samoa joining the Council, you’ve got four members for Japan and USA, it’s a global game now,” he continues. “We need to build on the success we have in world cups and ensure that our legacy is that we have a better game, that we have more people enjoying it and more people playing it.”
When it comes to goals, he knows World Rugby’s aims are aligned with that of many rugby fans. “Our aim is it get more emerging nations further in the world cup but it’s very difficult to close that gap on the top countries. But I do think that with our regional competitions, our under 20s and with sevens we’re in a pretty good position to take advantage of what will be a really great world cup in Japan.”
Do you see a time, in ten or 20 years, when one of these sides can win a world cup? “Yes, that’s what we are aiming for,” he says. “That’s our ambition to ensure every game is as competitive as you can get.
“I think what we have to aim for is more countries to be able to get to the quarter finals. It would be brilliant if a Japan, a Pacific Island, a Germany, a Russia or a Uruguay were playing in a world cup final. Or USA, look at the potential there, they’ve got a 15-a-side league that’s started and have made their first steps, and have their highest-ever ranking.”
Favourite moments? “Women’s world cup final – I’ve been to two, Paris and Belfast. The Olympics was pretty special to give out gold medals there to Fiji who had never won medals of any type at the Olympics – that was pretty special.”
The current workload, aside from the small matter of a Rugby World Cup in Japan, is considerable. “We’re looking at potentially a new global competition, to try and make the friendly internationals more competitive.
“We’re trying to look at, within the existing framework, if there’s any way of putting more value into every game. So whether you’re playing in the Six Nations, Rugby Championship, June Tests or November Tests – they all have to count towards something.
“We’re also looking at how we can enable more players to stay playing in their countries if that’s what they want to do,” he says. “In the Pacific islands, if there’s any way in which they can, then we want to help set up professional structures down there so their players don’t have to go off-shore all the time.”
While the need for ensuring developing rugby nations continue to progress, it’s also on the agenda to ensure traditional powers don’t slide too far. “We’ve got to look at successful teams that aren’t necessarily having a great time at the moment and ensure sides like Australia stay competitive, it’s about strengthening the game at all levels”
And the global season? “It sometimes is you take one step forward and two back, but look, we’ve got the framework of San Francisco, and we know where we are, we know where we want to be and we have a schedule of international tours in place in any event.
“But it’s a bit like the Lions tour in a way,” he continues. “World Rugby got criticised for there being eight tour matches. But if the Lions want to do a deal with their clubs in Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and France – where you’ve got some players playing – as long as you play your three Test matches in a certain window, it’s permissible, it’s got nothing to do with World Rugby.”
Player welfare is another hot topic. “I know we get criticised for it,” says Bill, “but you wouldn’t believe the amount of time, work and effort that goes into mitigating injury risk. We are continually reviewing statistics, trends and injury surveillance, and looking at how can we make the game as simple and safe to play, while retaining the contact that people enjoy. With so much sport and entertainment choice, we must continue to win the hearts of mums and dads so that they want their son or daughter to play the game of rugby. That’s vital to the future of our game.”
Does World Rugby get too much stick? “When you put yourself up to be in these roles it’s not necessarily going to be a popularity contest,” he says. “I’m trying, to the best of my ability, to leave the game in a better place than when I started, and I very much believe that we are on track.”
Bill was given the option of adding a ‘Sir’ to his name last December. “I found out about a month before, with a letter saying that my name had gone forward and asking if I would be willing to accept it,” he says of the knighthood he received in the New Year’s Honour’s List. “The only problem was I got the letter on the 29th of November and it had to be back with them on the 1st of December, I had no idea how I was going to get it back to London – they said I could send a PDF, but I had no idea how to do that. It was completely confidential so I had to ask Daniel (his eldest son) to scan and send it without looking at it.”
Paperwork cleared, he’s now able to call himself Sir Bill Beaumont. And, even before he’s visited Buckingham Palace, he’s already reaping the rewards. “A bus stopped for me this morning and the driver said, ‘do you want to go anywhere Sir?” he laughs.
Was it something he ever thought about? “No, no, when I finished playing in 1982 I got an OBE, then in 2007 I got a CBE for services to administration in rugby, and I thought, well that’s it, so to get this is, well, very special.”
At 66, even though his playing days, television quiz show days, and textile business days are behind him, Bill seems busier than ever. Even when he’s not heading off somewhere around the planet on World Rugby business, Lytham-St Annes remains a focal point of the global game. “There’s never a day when I don’t do something in rugby,” he says. “Whether it’s emails in the morning, evenings speaking to people in New Zealand or Australia or maybe speaking to Gus [Agustín Pichot] in Argentina. I’ll check in at Dublin to see what’s happening there, I’ll speak to stakeholders, the chief execs within the home nations – I’m always bouncing ideas off people.”
Every week, there’s games to watch, either down at Fylde or watching Josh for Sale. Either business or pleasure, he never gets tired of rugby. “I love the sport,” he says. “I love the people, I love coming down to this rugby club, I love going to watch games of rugby”
And there’s no chance of him stopping anytime soon either. “If I didn’t get up in the morning to do this, well, I’ll quote my son, Josh, ‘what else would you do Dad?’ I just think it’s in my DNA.”
Words by: Alex Mead
Pictures by: Han Lee De Boer