13 July 2020 / Club News

Paul's Ewe's say Goodbye to Parc de Pugh

What a year this has been. At the end of February Brecon RFC were looking towards an exciting climax to the rugby season. At that time, winning and losing on a rugby field seemed to be so important. Suddenly, life at the Club, within the town and across the world changed as the Coronavirus Pandemic made an impact of historic proportions. Rugby and other sports were brought to an abrupt halt. Towns, cities and countries across the globe were locked down and individual freedoms were lost in an attempt to reduce the impact of the virus. We all learned that the real battles in life involve looking after one another and trying to protect, help and save others.  That was the motivation behind Brecon RFC’s initiative to raise funds to support the National Health Service workforce which was dedicated to caring for those who contracted the virus.

The rest of the story has been well documented. Chairman, Paul Amphlett’s flock of ewes was the catalyst. From humble beginnings the initiative caught the imagination of the community and attracted unprecedented local and wider support. Ewes were named, participated in a unique rugby match and were shorn in front of someone who inspired a Nation; centurion, Captain Tom. Finally on Wednesday 8th July preparations were made to bring the venture to a conclusion. With £13,000 having already been donated to NHS Wales, with the express purpose of supporting frontline staff, a closing ceremony took place at Parc de Pugh with the flock still in attendance. Paramedic Kenneth Williams represented the Welsh Ambulance Service as he took receipt of seven new washing machines and coffee makers which will be installed in Ambulance Stations across South Powys. The formal presentation was made in the company of Paul Amphlett, shearers Eifion Morgan and Ian Matthews, club Secretary Ron Rowsell, Chris Randall of Bulwark House, Brecon and of course Captain Tom (alias Howard Morgan).  Chris of Bulwark House, Brecon, supported the project and  supplied the goods, which were purchased from a further £7,000 raised as part of the sponsored shearing event. The remaining money, left after purchasing the machines, will be donated to NHS Wales and will take the total donation, including the value of the goods, to over £20,000.

Through some of the darkest times in living memory the whole project has been a positive initiative. It has brought the Club and the community closer together in order to support essential frontline health workers. Paul Amphlett appropriately summed up the feelings of those gathered at the presentation, “There has always been pride in our NHS but we perhaps have never valued it more than we do now in this crisis. I am pleased that in a tangible way we, at Brecon RFC, have been able to show our support for the Service and the individuals who make huge sacrifices in order to keep us Safe.”

Abe Sampson responded on behalf of NHS Waleds, saying, Thank you so much for your support and everything that you, Paul and the club have done for the health board. It’s really been a remarkable effort and we’ve been delighted to share your progress with colleagues. It’s really made all of the difference to staff. Thanks to donations like this, we’ve been able to open up a funding stream specifically for staff to apply for items, equipment, and training to help them and patients as they adapt to a different way of working. It’s been a real success so far, allowing us to distribute the funds quickly and we’ve had applications from staff throughout Powys. It’s not something that would have been possible without the incredible generosity of community initiatives like yours. It also makes me very proud to be a part of the Powys community!

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