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North Devon company to make world's biggest rugby ball

15 Aug 2019 11:41 | Sara Raine

IN the summer of 2018 attention was focussed on the Devon town of South Molton when Tour of Britain history was made as cyclists passed indoors (through the Pannier Market) for the first time ever.

This year, on Sunday, September 15,  just a few yards away, another historical sporting record will be broken, with Devon company Aramis revealing the world’s biggest rugby ball.

Officials from The Guinness Book of Records will be present to measure the new ball and declare a new world record.

Preparations are currently underway with the ball being made by north Devon company Aramis Rugby, whose HQ is at South Molton.

It’s all part of the build up to the Rugby World Cup, and with media interest both local, national and international, it promises to be a significant event.

To become a record breaker, the new ball will have to be bigger than the current record, set at 4.7 metres (15ft 5inches in length) and 2.95 metres (9ft 8 inches in height). That ball was used to promote the Hong Kong Sevens tournament of 2011.

Nobody is yet sure quite how big this ball will be, but Aramis are confident the record will be broken, and they plan to do it in spectacular style.

The ball will be flown into South Molton by helicopter, with a convoy of specialist vehicles in support. It will be lowered onto a specially made kicking tee, before the adjudicators from Guinness World Records begin their judgment. Rugby professionals and personalities, as well as dignitaries and other celebrities will also be there to witness the official record.

Officials and players from Devon club Exeter Chiefs and fellow Premiership side Worcester Warriors have been invited.

A host of activities and entertainment for all the family will be provided throughout the day in and around the Pannier Market, with refreshment, entertainment, a live stage, children’s rides and other fun activities. It all kicks off from around 10am, with the helicopter due in at midday.

Aramis director Vic Mahajan said: “We will be really proud to break this record, not just for ourselves but for the whole Devon community. It will put us all on the national and international stage.”

Aramis are already a major name within the game, though they have largely gone under the radar. Much of their time has been spent manufacturing clothing and equipment for major brand names, but now Aramis are concentrating on retailing their own brand, right across the board, from grass roots rugby to professional Premiership teams.

Aramis also design and manufacture innovative scrum machines. They have a contract with Premiership side Worcester Warriors to provide their training and scrumming equipment, and their status as leading innovators in the field is rapidly gaining momentum.

Last year Aramis won the North Devon Business Awards for ‘manufacturing excellence and Innovation’. Their state-of-the-art scrum machines aren’t just used by players and coaches either, they also make ‘fan-friendly’ versions which have proved popular amongst fans at Six Nations internationals and other major tournaments.

The event on Sunday, September 15,  is likely to attract big crowds, and South Molton Mayor Paul Henderson is chuffed. He said: “To have a sports manufacturer producing world class rugby clothing and equipment located here is something we can all be very proud of. Through Aramis choosing to hold this event in their hometown, we can show that north Devon isn't just somewhere nice to have a holiday, but somewhere that trading across the globe can be achieved.”

Town Clerk Andrew Coates added: “Once again South Molton will be put on the map. This is such a proactive town and deserves all the recognition it will get. I am delighted to be part of the event and I am sure it will be a fantastic day for families, with all the other activities being held on the day.”

Ken Miles, chief executive at North Devon Council sees it as a reflection of the specialist technical skills of the area, which largely go unnoticed. He said: “There’s a cluster of high-tech engineering and manufacturing businesses who have made north Devon their home. Aramis Rugby is one such example. A business leading their field, in developing and producing digital scrummage machines for top-class rugby clubs around the world, using a local labour force and investing in the local economy.”