Published: 30 September 2023

A charity rugby match that was organised by a Wales Air Ambulance past patient has raised £6,000.

Richard Jones, of Tenby, organised the event to raise funds for Wales Air Ambulance and the Friends of Morriston Hospital, both of whom provided him and his family support after he survived a road traffic accident on the A40 in Carmarthenshire, which led to the partial amputation of his right leg.

Despite challenging weather, Pembroke RFC hosted the charity match organised by ex-player Richard, in front of bumper crowds.

Prior to the main match between Pembroke RFC and Richard’s guest squad, the ‘Misfits’, the Pembroke Panthers gave an exhibition of their skills in a non-contact session. The day also included a tombola, raffles and an auction, which included an aeroplane ride with ex-Wales international, Ian Gough.

The event, which took place on 5 August, was a success with Richard’s friends and family as well as the local community showing their support, including ex-army medic Ian Thompson, the man who was first at the scene of Richard’s accident, back in February 2022

Richard, 33, said he had always planned to hold his own event since his accident to say thank you to his chosen charities.

He said: “It took over four months of planning and organising the event and I was amazed with how it went in the end. It was my first time doing anything like that and in the run up to the event it felt that everything was against me. People were dropping out; we had a storm and the bouncy castle and family activities had to be cancelled due to the weather.

“However, thankfully the day went amazingly well. A personal highlight had to be when the Misfits team were winning at half time. I have had so much positive feedback with people asking for the match to become an annual event, and I feel I have no choice to do something like this in the future.”

The funds from the match will be split between the Wales Air Ambulance and the Friends of Morriston Hospital. 

Richard said: “Without the Wales Air Ambulance, I simply would not be here today. The Charity was not only there for me at my accident but was there for me and my family afterwards also. While I have done some fundraising campaigns for the Charity, I wanted to raise funds by holding my own event, to say thank you for all the help and support they have shown us since my accident.

“I never expected to raise so much money from one event and I am very grateful for all the support and kind donations from everyone who helped make the day a success.”  

The Wales Air Ambulance relies entirely on public donations to raise £11.2 million every year to keep its four helicopters in the air and fleet of rapid response vehicles on the road.

Richard said he wanted to thank everybody who donated raffle prizes, the match sponsors and Daps Baps Burger Van and Pembroke Rugby Club for their hospitality.

He added: “I want to thank all the players who took part, they all put in so much effort. But most of all, I would like to thank my family and friends for their support and who helped make the day possible.”