A touch rugby charity event at Loughor RFC has raised more than £2,800 in the memory of former player Richard Thomas who died last year aged just 29.
Former soldier Richard, known to his many friends at rugby clubs across South Wales as Decky, represented the army at rugby and running and was a Loughor RFC stalwart.
He was diagnosed with a form of cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle condition, in 2011 after breaking his sternum playing rugby. He died in June 2017.
Tournament organiser and Decky’s close friend County Councillor Andrew Stevens has now raised more than £13,000 for cardiac patients at Morriston Hospital and plans to make the Decky Touch Rugby Tournament an annual event.
Around 20 teams took place in the second annual event with Cllr Stevens’ team, Decky’s Headhunters, emerging as winners.
“Considering we had some poor weather at the start of the day I would say that the day was an absolute success with more than £2,800 raised for a great cause,” said Cllr Stevens.
“A huge thank you to everyone who turned up to brave the rain, players, supporters, fellow councillors, volunteers, and staff.
“Even though I still wish it was under different circumstances, it is a very worthy cause to be fundraising for. It raises awareness of cardiomyopathy and raising funds for the cardiac unit in Morriston, so that we may help out others that may be affected.
“One of the main reasons for organising the tournament was to get as many people in the community together in one place for a few games of rugby, a few drinks and to exchange stories to remember a great friend, Richi Thomas. I think we more than achieved that goal.
“I hope we are making the best of a tough situation and helping others while keeping his memory going.
Added Cllr Stevens: “The atmosphere on the day was outstanding, I more than happy to continue this event on an annual basis, a fantastic day that doesn’t happen often enough. Roll on next year and hopefully we will have some nice weather!”
Upper Loughor Labour councillor Robert Smith, who contributed £300 from his community budget to help organise the event, said: “I was glad to see the community coming together to support Loughor RFC’s fund-raising work to such a worthy cause. Despite the weather, it was good to see people of all ages, including so many young families, there on the day.”
PICTURE: Tournament winners Decky’s Headhunters with their medals. Cllr Andrew Stevens is on the left.