One year to go – Howden Lions countdown

Gear up to go down under!

Friday 28th June marks an important date – why? Because it marks one year until The British and Irish Lions Australian tour begins!

And as the proud sponsors of the 2025 tour, we’re excited to launch the official countdown in our local branches across the UK. Because when Howden became our new name, we promised you that only our name and look would change. Our commitment to serving local people, locally hasn’t wavered.

In fact it’s through partnerships, such as our collaboration with The British & Irish Lions, that we can do more to support you, and the causes that matter to you. So, as we countdown the days until The British & Irish Lions Tour kicks off down under, here’s what your local Howden branch team are doing to celebrate and to give back to communities!

Championing your local team

Local sports clubs are an integral part of the communities we serve; with deep-rooted histories, they act as a focal point for people to gather together, grow, and celebrate. And we want to help make sure local rugby, and local sport more widely, can continue to be the heart of your community for generations to come.

Kings Norton RFC Women’s Team in their Howden kits!

We champion teams across the country, from Sevenoaks to Solihull, Eastleigh to Alcester, and many more. Whether protecting local clubs, by helping them find the right specialist cover for their equipment, buildings and enterprises, to sponsoring your local team so that players of all abilities, backgrounds, ages and genders have the support they need to tackle any challenge.

Nurturing future stars

As we take such pride in supporting grassroots clubs, we’re keen to ensure anyone who wants to play rugby can! For young players, sport is much more than passing a ball; the social and physical benefits have long-lasting effects. Training together builds character, builds bonds which can last a lifetime both on and off the pitch, and provides an escape from stresses in their lives.

But it can be a struggle to keep up with children’s ever-growing feet, and having to buy new boots each time they need new ones. Combine this with the strain from the cost-of-living crisis, and many parents and carers find these expenses difficult to manage.

That’s why we run boot and kit exchanges in several of our branches! People can donate their outgrown boots and kit, swap for a new pair, or simply come in and collect the items they need, completely free of charge. It’s fun, sustainable, and most importantly, keeps everyone able to lace up their boots and keep playing!

And now, with our partnership, we can kick our community support into the next gear. We’re collaborating with Lions Origins Clubs, which have helped produce and guide Lions players on their rugby journey, to nurture future sporting talent.

Our first Big Rugby Day Out in Oxford was a hit, with hundreds of children and parents from the local Lions Origin rugby clubs gathering in the glorious sunshine for a day of fun and coaching. They also had the opportunity to meet some Lions legends and hear about what it’s like to play at the highest level of the sport. And this is just the first event, with many more sessions in the works. So watch this space!

Unleash your creativity

When the players step out onto the pitch in Perth a year from now, they’ll be wearing a powerful symbol of unity and pride: the iconic Lions shirt. Symbolising over a century of rugby excellence, and the coming together of players from different nations, the shirt represents Collective Power both on and off the field.

So, before the official 2025 kit is revealed, we’re inviting you to design a unique shirt that captures the spirit and excitement of the tour. Whether you’re a budding designer, a passionate rugby fan, or just love a creative challenge, this is your chance to contribute to The British & Irish Lions’ legacy – and win a one-of-a-kind prize.

The best shirt design will be brought to life and framed for the winner to take home! Anyone is welcome to enter, so if you want to be in with a chance of winning your very own Canterbury Lions jersey, PLUS up to 30 shirts for your local team, simply pop into your local Howden branch to pick up a design template and let your imagination run wild. Upload your finished entry on the page here, and fill out the form to enter.

Roar-some pet pawtraits

If you’ve not made it to one of our pet pawtrait events yet, then now’s your chance! We’re working with local photographers and inviting you into branch, to have your furry friends take part in a free photoshoot – with a special Lions twist.

One of our first events saw our Guildford branch taking pet pawtraits on the road to The Guildfordians RFC. Even the rain couldn’t dampen everyone’s spirits, and the dogs loved being in their natural habitat – and covered in mud…

So, if you’d like to have your pride and joy pictured, keep an eye out for the next event near you!

Join the Lions journey

We’re excited to count down until the ‘mane’ event with you, as anticipation builds for The British & Irish Lions’ Australian tour to get underway. So until then, watch out for even more events and competitions at your local Howden branch throughout the next year!

Find your nearest branch here, and pop by to say hello to the team, or give them a call.