TWO councillors from the far right British National Party (BNP) were entertained by a newly-formed community rugby club in South Oxhey yesterday.

The South Oxhey Rugby Club Exiles invited county councillor Deidre Gates, and Three Rivers district councillor Seamus Dunne, to share their post match drinks, and a game pie cooked in their honour at The Dick Whittington pub in Prestwick Road.

Mat Sharpe, who got the club off the ground at the start of the season in September, said: “If it had not been for the help given by these councillors, our club could not exist.

“We needed money for shirts, balls, hiring pitches and so on.”

Councillor Gates, elected for South Oxhey in June, was persuaded by Councillor Dunne to put £3,000 of her £10,000 allocation grant, available to all county councillors for community projects, into the club, while Three Rivers District Council put in a further £3,000.

Mr Sharpe, 31, said: “Although we have lost today, it is going really well.

“We have more than 30 members and two or three new people are turning up every week.

“South Oxhey is an area of high deprivation, and although there are five football clubs there isn't much else for people to do for physical exercise.”

Anticipating criticism for accepting the BNP's help – refused by the South Oxhey Community Choir – he said: “I am not interested in politics, but I know this club is a good thing for the community and I need help from wherever I can get it.

“Whether you like it or not, many people round here voted for the BNP.”

Club captain Danny Howard said: “Before the club, most people here just spent all their time drinking.

“The club has given us all not just something to do but something to talk about rather than getting into fights.”

Councillor Gates said: “It was not the BNP's money, but council taxpayers' money, and I find it personally offensive that some people think it is somehow tainted.”

Councillor Dunne said: “This club is a very good thing for the South Oxhey. It is good for health and fitness and it helps foster a sense of community.”

All are welcome at the Exiles, who are so called as they include refugees from various local clubs and train on Thursday evenings at the South Oxhey Pavilion.