Duke supports injured rugby players

Andover Advertiser: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch Wales face New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch Wales face New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

The Duke of Cambridge pledged his support to injured sportsmen and women as he met supporters and beneficiaries of the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust (WRCT).

The royal, who has been patron of the charity since the summer, attended the autumn international between Wales and New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William met former players who had been seriously injured while taking part in the sport, as well as members of the trust who had helped raise funds during its 40-year history.

Edward Jones, WRCT secretary, said the visit was "a source of encouragement and inspiration to all those connected with the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, both players and trustees alike".

He added: "We are delighted that HRH the Duke of Cambridge has agreed to be patron of the trust and, in so doing, support the work of providing and caring for those who have suffered serious injury on the rugby field in Wales."

The WRCT, a registered charity, was set up in 1972 to help and assist severely injured rugby players. The trust works closely with the Welsh Rugby Union and member clubs to care for players who have been seriously injured on the rugby field.

Philip Harris, 59, who was partially paralysed down his left side after being injured in a game, said he believed the royal couple's appearance represented a firm pledge to support the trust.

Mr Harris, from Brynamman near the Brecon Beacons, said: "The Duke was very inquisitive, he was very caring and interested in all of us here today. He is dedicated to this great cause, he's shown that today. To get somebody of his stature to support us is incredible."

Paul Davies MBE, who has been involved with the trust for nearly three decades after being paralysed during a match as a 21-year-old, also met the royal couple, before the match. He said: "I think people now see the person and not the chair, and that is down to the brilliant work of the small, dedicated team of supporters with the trust.

"It is truly humbling how they have helped me throughout my life since the accident, I cannot explain enough how they have been a lifeline to me and others."

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