Long-serving Dragons Community coach Janice Chappell – dubbed the ‘Queen of Rugby in Gwent’ – will leave the region later this year after over two decades inspiring the next generation to play the sport she loves.
Janice - our first ever community staff member and the first full-time female development officer not only in Wales but throughout Britain - is a well-known face to fans young and old right across our region.
Over the last 22 years she has inspired thousands of youngsters to pick up a ball and play rugby through her work on school visits, skills camps, our outreach and inclusion programmes and work experience placements.
A keen rugby player who only missed out on gaining full Welsh honours through injury, Janice - who currently works as a Community Development Officer - will leave a huge legacy when she departs in July.
Mike Sage, Community Manager, said: “Janice has been such an inspiration to so many people in the rugby world throughout Gwent and will be missed massively.
“She will certainly leave a positive footprint across our communities and will be big shoes to fill to ensure her legacy continues.
“For 22 years, Janice, in her own unique style, has been creating the rugby buzz around school playgrounds, on our skills camps and through our community and inclusion provisions, she really is the ‘Queen of Rugby in Gwent’.
“She has been an amazing colleague and her contribution to our community department is unmeasurable. She has been first class and above all, has become a great friend.
“Jan will always be welcome back to Rodney Parade anytime and I can assure her that we will build on her amazing work to ensure young rugby enthusiasts continue to be inspired.
“Thank you, Jan, for being you and I wish you the very best of luck for the future, make the most of your time with your family.”
Managing Director, Mark Jones, has also paid tribute adding: “Janice’s dedication to the community department here at Dragons over the last two decades has been simply outstanding.
“Janice has made a huge difference and had an impact on so many lives and she will leave a huge legacy.
“She will always be a huge part of the #DragonsFamily and always welcome back at Rodney Parade.”
Janice admitted she would leave with a ‘heavy heart’ but the time was now right for the next chapter in her life.
She said: “I wish all my friends at Dragons and Newport County all the best, it’s been wonderful to work at Rodney Parade with so many people I now consider good friends.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I leave due to personal reasons, but I also know it’s the right time and I’m now looking forward to spending more time with my family.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Tony Brown and the Board for believing in me when I first joined. I hope I’ve achieved what they envisaged for the role.
“I’d also like say a huge thank you to Mike Sage, for not only being my boss but also for the special friendship we’ve had.
“We’ve shared many highs and lows, but we’ve some great memories and he has always been there for me.”
Janice’s dedication to the community department here at Dragons over the last two decades has been simply outstanding...