Newick Rugby Football Club raises more than £31k through charity match

Chairman of Newick Rugby Football Club Wayne Thomas with school friend Piers Morgan at the charity match. Photograph: Chris Griffiths
Chairman of Newick Rugby Football Club Wayne Thomas with school friend Piers Morgan at the charity match. Photograph: Chris Griffiths

Newick Rugby Football Club has raised more than £31,000 for charity through a fundraising match that featured former and current players.

Chairman Wayne Thomas, who was diagnosed with inoperable oesophageal and liver cancer last year, organised the event to mark the end of four months of chemotherapy treatment.

Former and current players took part in the charity match on Saturday. Photograph: Chris Griffiths

Former and current players took part in the charity match on Saturday. Photograph: Chris Griffiths

It ran at the King George V playing field on Saturday (April 6) followed by a raffle, auction, hog roast and disco to support Cancer Research UK.

Among those at the event was journalist Piers Morgan, a school friend of Wayne’s.

Morgan, who stayed until the end of the auction, helped put together a series of video messages for Wayne from, among others, journalist Susanna Reid, former cricketers Freddie Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, rugby player Danny Cipriani and presenter Amanda Holden which were shown at the event.

Wayne said: “I have been completely blown away and humbled by the support for this event.

Chairman Wayne Thomas watches videos of support. Photograph: Chris Griffiths

Chairman Wayne Thomas watches videos of support. Photograph: Chris Griffiths

“It was great to be back on the pitch surrounded by so many faces from Newick RFC’s past and present.

“People even flew in from abroad and changed holiday plans so that they didn’t miss the event.”

Wobbly's Invitational XV team featuring former players and Wayne, whose nickname is Wobbly, won the match, beating Newick RFC's Invitational XV by 26 points to 17.

So far, the fundraising total stands at some £31,600, with the figure expected to rise.

Wayne added: “I started off thinking this would raise a few hundred pounds, and the latest figure of £31,633 is completely unbelievable.”

Kate Alexander, one of the event’s organisers, said: "The event went very well.

“I think we probably had about 400 people watching the game which for a little village is quite unusual."

Speaking of the sum raised so far, she added: “It has exceeded all of our expectations.

"It was just an amazing event. The whole village really came out and supported it.”

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