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Rugby strikes gold in Visit England's Hall of Fame

RUGBY'S place in history as the birthplace of the game has secured the town a gold award in Visit England's prestigious Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame launches today - St George's Day - at a free, open-air exhibition at Observation Point on London's Southbank.

Earlier this year the tourist board invited the public to submit suggestions of England's best contributions to the world, and what makes it a great place to visit and explore.

Suggestions were split into a number of categories, including History and Heritage, Inventions and Discoveries, Culture and Entertainment, and Sport and Leisure.

Over 1,000 suggestions were submitted, which were whittled down to 60 by a panel of experts, including Visit England chairman, Lady Cobham, and chief executive, James Berresford.

The 60 suggestions - ten in each category - then faced a public vote before the top three in each category were awarded bronze, silver and gold awards.

Rugby topped the vote in the Sport and Leisure category, winning gold and taking a place in the Hall of Fame.

The town joins The Beatles, who won gold in Culture and Entertainment, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who took gold in the Inventions and Discoveries category, and the sandwich, winner of gold in the Food and Drink category, in the celebration of England's claims to fame.

William Shakespeare was the People's Choice, with the Bard securing the most votes from the public.

Simon Gardner, manager of Rugby Visitor Centre, said: "We're delighted Rugby has taken a gold award in Visit England's Hall of Fame, promoting our place in history as the birthplace of the game to a global audience.

"We're ready to welcome thousands of visitors to the town ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup, and this recognition from Visit England and the public throws the spotlight on our unique contribution to both England's history and the sporting world."

The exhibition on London's Southbank runs until Wednesday 30 April.

For more information about Visit England's Hall of Fame, visit

Photo caption: Rugby Visitor Centre's Lorraine Smith celebrates the town's gold award in Visit England's Hall of Fame.

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