Faced with major losses of income because of the Covid-19 lockdown, Brixham and Torquay Athletic rugby clubs have thrown themselves into fund-raising drives aimed at producing £35,000 this summer.

Torquay Athletic RFC's appealTorquay Athletic RFC's appeal

Although the 2019-2020 campaign is over on the pitch, their clubhouses remain open during the close-season, delivering vital revenue.

Brixham’s Astley Park is a seven-day-a-week operation, and they are out to raise £25,000 before the end of May.

Torquay’s council-owned Recreation Ground is open for social events and at weekends, and the Tics are already halfway to their target of £10,000.

Chairman Jackie Coles revealed: “Our club has been in hardship for quite a long time, and we have had to deal with all sorts of problems since the new committee took over last July.

“The clubhouse was just starting to deliver the revenue we need to pay the bills when everything had to shut down.

“We have been very encouraged by the way our appeal has gone so far.

“Most of the money has come from the younger people in the club, who have the biggest stake in our future.”

Brixham, whose losses will run into six-figures in a lengthy lockdown, have raised more than £7,000 in less than two weeks.

“We don’t want to take any money away from other good causes at a time like this,” said chairman Chris Forster.

“But Astley Park isn’t a once a week or weekend business, and we also serve the community in Brixham here.

“We’ve had to put some plans for the clubhouse on hold, but we want to protect our future aspirations and avoid having to take out any additional loans.”

Paignton Rugby Club share Queen’s Park with the town’s cricket club, so they give up the use of the pavilion there during the summer months.