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A year to celebrate as councillors approve coronation and bicentenary activities

RUGBY is set to celebrate next year after councillors approved budgets for two important milestones for the borough.

Cllr Seb Lowe
Cllr Seb Lowe, leader of Rugby Borough Council. Published Wednesday, 21st December 2022

2023 will see the coronation of King Charles III after his accession last year – and it is also the bicentenary of the moment when William Webb Ellis took the ball and ran with it, creating the game which has taken the town’s name.

For the coronation on 6 May there will be a community event in Caldecott Park. A giant screen will stream the ceremony live for people to come together and watch the historic occasion, with live music, street entertainers and inflatables for people to enjoy around the official ceremony. 

Local organisations and businesses will be invited to join the event with their own activities and stalls. 

Further support for the town centre is to be explored for a second giant screen on Market Place with picnic benches, giving shoppers the chance to visit the local shops and have a place to sit whilst the official ceremony is taking place. 

The town centre will be dressed with union flag bunting to ensure the town captures the spirit of the occasion. 

For the bicentenary celebrations, the town centre will be decorated to make sure residents and visitors are aware of the occasion. Lamppost banners will welcome people into the town centre, with signage on the entrances to Rugby. 

A series of community activities will be made available to local rugby clubs and primary schools, and there will be and a Bicentenary Mascot. 

The Council’s Art Gallery and Museum will be hosting a 6-week exhibition throughout the Rugby World Cup 2023 period, where visitors can learn about how the game has developed since William Webb Ellis first took the ball in his arms and ran with it. 

An art competition is currently open until 31 January 2023 with judging taking place in March 2023. The competition is being delivered in partnership with the Council’s Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Rugby School and the Wooden Spoon Charity. The winning entries will be encapsulated on one of the town centre giant rugby balls as a lasting reminder of the bicentenary celebrations. 

Rugby School have a full calendar of events starting in January including schools tournaments both local and international, a cycle pilgrimage from The Close to Twickenham and a world record attempt for the world’s largest scrum. 

Cllr Seb Lowe, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said:

Rugby has a tradition of coming out and supporting coronations and, more than 70 years since the last one, we are proud to be supporting our communities to celebrate.

“With it also being 200 years since the sport of rugby was created here, 2023 will be a year of celebrations and commemorations.

“I look forward to seeing how Rugby’s businesses and communities will mark the occasion.”

Councillors approved the budgets at their meeting of the full council held on 14 December.

Rugby School’s calendar of bicentenary activities can be viewed at

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