Lydney Rugby Club have had their flood-repair fund boosted to the tune of £2,000 by Wales international George North, writes Gareth Davies.
The Forest-of-Dean outfits Regentsholme ground was badly damaged by recent flooding caused by Storm Dennis.
With the Severnsiders’ home base sitting on a flood plain, they are unable to get adequate insurance cover, so are having to foot the bill for repairs themselves. North’s incredible generosity was described by Lydney as an ‘unbelievable gesture’ after he donated personal memorabilia and playing kit too.
The items were sold at auction during a special evening organised by local event company Aitch & Bee.
Members of Lydney’s ladies’ section attended and were carrying out a bucket collection when North heard of their clubs’ plight.
He then spontaneously decided to help Lydney, who are hoping to host their home match against Cleve next Saturday, just two weeks after the floods hit.
The club have been inundated with offers of support as they bid to repair the devastating damage which was caused by an unprecedented amount of rainfall.
North put up two limited edition canvas pictures from the Lions tours of 2012 and 2017, along with a bag of Welsh kit. Overall, the on the spot auction raised £2,150 for Lydney.
Meanwhile, Lydney secretary Nick Nelmes has written to the local council to ask for an explanation as to why the flood occurred, and what action plans will be put in place to stop any reoccurrence.
Looking positively, though, Nelmes was keen to look forward to possibly hosting the Cleve match and said: “We are really hopeful we can honour our next home game on March 7 against Cleve. For sure we will not be able to offer business as usual, but we are trying to get the main bar area open and in operation.
The club had only just completed a major refurbishment of their clubhouse so to have this flood has been really devastating says press officer Roger Pike.
He added: “We have recently been working hard for a new grant with Sport England to refurbish and extend our changing rooms.
“In summary it’s been great news for the club this season as our playing numbers are increasing. We now have a large number of juniors, three senior teams and also a new ladies side.”
“However, we simply do not have enough changing facilities to operate numerous games on the same day. We as a club have a duty of care to provide secure and separate areas for both juniors and the ladies to change and shower.
“The flood is a major setback, but we will be back in contact with Sport England to see if we can revise our grant for funds. Not just to repair the changing areas from the flood but do the building extension as part of the same project.
“Whilst all our efforts are in the clubhouse, our changing rooms should be functional very soon, thus enabling our juniors and seniors to at least be back training even if we cannot offer any food or refreshments.
“I would also like to add my thanks to the media, both BBC and ITV plus the written press, who have highlighted our plight and thus been invaluable in helping the fund-raising activities.”