A cash-strapped rugby club where legendary Kiwi winger Jonah Lomu once played has been given a “scrummy” season-saving gift by kind-hearted bakers.
The mini section at Wrexham Rugby Club has received a donation of £1,000 from the family-run Village Bakery which is based in the town.
The money came from the firm’s Village People Fund that was set up to help local charities, community groups and sports clubs who’ve been struggling to survive during the pandemic because their fund-raising activities have been curtailed.
It was presented by the Village Bakery’s project director, Christien Jones, who was a talented hooker in his youth when he played for Wrexham.
Christien was a member of a “fabulous youth team which developed many great players”, some of whom went on play professionally, like brothers Andy and Steve Moore who represented Wales.
Steve wore the famous red jersey three times while Andy was capped 26 times and captained his country on two occasions.
Lomu, who died aged just 40 five years ago, was another rugby luminary who graced the pitch at the club’s home base in Bryn Estyn Road.
The giant winger, the first real superstar of the sport, turned out for a Wrexham XV in an exhibition match in November 1995 as a favour to his mentor, Phil Kingsley Jones, who was head coach at Wrexham at the time.
Following in his massive footsteps are the under 7 and 8 teams in the club’s mini section which has struggled for funds after the pandemic struck.
According to coach Mike Kinder, the cash from the Village Bakery has come at just the right time.
Although they can not play against other clubs at the moment, the Sunday morning training sessions and internal games have resumed.
Mike said: “We’re living in challenging times at the moment so his donation from the Village Bakery is fantastic.
“This is the grass roots of the sport so any contribution towards it, to develop the children, equipment, and the ground is much appreciated.
“The children here today, the under 7s and the under 8s, are the future of the club and the future of rugby in North Wales.
“It’s a great club, a family club and it’s great to be part of it and the money from the Village Bakery will go a long way.”
As a locally based company, Christien said they felt duty bound to give something back to the community.
The Village Bakery had had always made a point of supporting good causes in an ad hoc way but had decided to set up the Village People’s Fund so there was a more structured approach to their donations
Christien’s visit to the club for the presentation brought back many happy memories of his time playing in the junior and youth teams in the late1980s and 90s.
He said: “We had so many great players in those days, including the Moore brothers.
“Rugby is a wonderful team sport and it’s great to see the youngsters here today having such a good time.
“As a former player here, this is a cause that is close to my heart. The coronavirus pandemic has made life tough for lots of people and Wrexham Rugby Club has, like so many other, found it difficult to raise funds so we were only too pleased to be able to help.
“There’s a hotbed of rugby playing talent and one day some of these young players might go on to emulate the likes of Andy and Steve Moore and Jonah Lomu on the international stage.
“But even if they don’t reach the heady heights of world rugby, the discipline and the camaraderie they get here will stand them in good stead whatever they do in life. You never know some of them might end up working at the Village Bakery.”