NRG Prepare for the 2017 Louisey Rider Cup

20 April 17 words: Penny Reeve

Following the untimely death of Louise Wright in 2014, Nottingham Roller Derby set up a tournament in her honour last year to celebrate one of her passions while raising cash for the road safety charity, Brake. It’s back again this year, we spoke to one of the event's organisers, Hannah Larham, about what the day involves...

Who was Louise?
Louise, otherwise known as Louisey Rider 66, was a friend and teammate of Nottingham Roller Derby, and one of their star players. In July 2014 she was killed in a road traffic accident just off Pennyfoot Street.

What is the Louisey Rider Cup?
It's an event that's a way of remembering our amazing friend through the sport she adored. It’s planned to fall around her birthday each year, and essentially it’s a day of roller derby but with loads of additional fun heaped on top. As well as the games we’ll also have a raffle with prizes including a limited edition Vivienne Westwood satchel, Oscar & Rosie’s vouchers, a barista experience, Brewdog vouchers and tickets to Breakin’ Convention. There’s even an extra special online raffle of a Paul Smith bag, which is worth over £500.

That’s pretty generous of Paul Smith…
Louise used to work for the company. In fact there’s a touring photo exhibition currently travelling the globe that Louise curated. When she died Sir Paul took out one of the pictures and replaced it with an image of Lou, so now she’s on the tour, too. The company were also involved with the creation of a memorial bench and wayfairer that the council have recently erected just off Pennyfoot Street.

Is it just for family, friends and roller derby folks, or is everyone invited?
We’d love everyone to come along on the day, whether they knew Louise or not. We want the tournament to be a fun family event for roller derby lovers but also to introduce people to the sport, if they’ve yet to become familiar with it.

Are you donating to a charity?
We are. All of the profit we make and all money from the raffle goes to the road safety charity Brake, which works to educate people in order to prevent road traffic collisions and also works alongside those bereaved or injured due to road traffic accidents. Last year we managed to raise over £3k for them and we’re hoping to top that this year.

For people not fully knowledgeable about roller derby, what gwan?
Roller derby is a fast-paced contact sport played on roller skates – a bit like rugby, without a ball but with wheels. The aim of the game is for one jammer to pass through the opposing team's blockers (a wall of players) as many times as possible within a two minute jam. Each jam lasts for up to two minutes. Games last for one hour, although the games will be shorter for the tournament as we have so many teams.

 

So this is the second year of the tournament. Were you hoping to turn this into an annual thing?
The aim was always to hold the first year’s tournament and if it was successful to try and turn the event into a yearly occurrence. Happily, that was the case so we’re back again.

How did Louise’s family respond to the idea?
Louise’s family and partner James have all been very supportive of the idea. I think it’s nice for them to have somewhere to congregate with so many of Louise’s friends each year, and focus on something positive and fun. Louise’s mum, Sharon, blew the first whistle last year and will be returning to do the same this time around. Sharon also won the afterparty, so now we know where Lou got it from!

There seems to be some pretty…interesting…team names. What’s that about?
We wanted all of the names to reflect some aspect of Lou’s personality, so Grandad Shoes is named after Lou’s love of comfortable footwear, Dat Ass is named after Lou’s best asset and Slutty Banana is named after the outfit that Lou bought for a fancy dress party right before the accident.

We hear the afterparty is pretty epic…
Well, Louise was known for putting the party into afterparty so our aim is to end the day with the biggest, loudest, most glittery party around. We’ll have lip sync battles, Shit Pop DJs, a dance extravaganza and all the glitter you can shake out of a unicorn. Fancy dress optional.

Excellent. We’ll see you there, then!

The Louisey Rider Cup, Saturday 22 April 2017, Lee Westwood Sports Centre, NTU Clifton Campus, £5, including entry to the afterparty at Spanky van Dyke’s.

Louisey Rider Cup Event Page

You might have seen the new bench, plaque and wayfairer by BioCity, just off Pennyfoot Street. If you look closely you’ll see it’s a memorial to Louise, placed by the council as a more permanent dedication, following the removal of the ghost bike which appeared after the accident in July 2014 and then again last year, during the trial.

Both the bench and the wayfairer have climbing rose detailing which is reminiscent of the tattoo sleeve that Louise had, and both the width of the bench and length of the pattern of the wayfairer are the same height as Louise.

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