Pontypool RFC was celebrating a victory of a different kind on Saturday when the club announced it had achieved its target to raise £5,000 for Guide Dogs Cymru.
The funds raised will support the charity’s ‘Name a Puppy’ programme, which provides training to a guide dog puppy prior to partnering with one of the 4,500 blind and partially sighted people the Guide Dogs support in the UK every year.
One such guide dog owner is Lisa Tainton, who completed the club’s fundraising efforts by shaving her head and raising £1,000 with her children, Dominic and Kieran.
The trio was on hand alongside Lisa’s guide dog, Ava, and mother, Karen, to present Guide Dogs Cymru with a cheque for £5,000 at Pontypool RFC’s match versus Swansea RFC held at Pontypool Park on Saturday.
“I wanted to support the club because I live in Pontypool and wished to help raise the remaining funds required to complete the name a puppy programme,” explained Tainton. “I was also delighted to represent the Guide Dogs and we very much enjoyed being on hand to present the cheque on Saturday.”
Efforts to achieve the club’s £5,000 target was very much a community effort, with notable initatives including a sponsored walk organised by Pooler supporters’ Barrie Pearce, Darren Samuel, Morgan Samuel, Andrew Brimfield, Carol Gittings, Donna Schofield and Alys Pearce, that raised £1,500, and £800 being raised at Pontypool RFC’s team Christmas party held at the Parkway Hotel & Spa in Cwmbran.
Over £370 was also raised at Pontypool RFC’s fixture versus Ebbw Vale RFC, which attracted over 1,200 supporters on the day.
On realising the target, Pontypool RFC Chief Executive Officer, Ben Jeffreys, said: “This is a tremendous achievement, not only for Pontypool RFC, but also its supporters and the wider town of Pontypool.
“We thank everybody who has supported this initiative, whether it be by making a donation or hosting a fundraising event. Every penny counted and we are delighted that a member of the local community will benefit from these efforts.
“We have formed a close relationship with Guide Dogs Cymru and we are very proud to have been associated with a charity that supports such a worthy cause.
As a result of the £5,000 target being met, Pontypool RFC and its supporters will have the opportunity to name a guide dog puppy in a competition to be launched by the club next week.