British Gas and Taunton Rugby Club have made a £21,400 donation to Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).
The Titans, who announced a multi-year partnership with the energy supplier last year, held a pre-match lunch and fundraising auction at Veritas Park in December.
More than 250 people attended the event prior to the home game against Birmingham Moseley, bidding on a host of special items and experiences donated by local businesses, including signed rugby balls, golf days and stays at Cornish hotels.
The auction raised £1,400 and British Gas boosted the total with a £20,000 donation. CHSW area fundraiser Mary Gray was invited back to the club last month to receive the cheque on behalf on the charity, which runs three children’s hospices in the South West, including Little Bridge House in Barnstaple, North Devon.
Presenting the cheque to Mary with a full squad of Titans players, James Kew, British Gas South West Area Manager, said the money had been originally set aside to enable British Gas staff to undertake volunteering hours in the local community.
He said: “Employees usually take two days each year to volunteer for good causes but we were so busy because of the cost-of-living crisis and the cold weather that we couldn’t fulfil those volunteering commitments. As we hadn’t used up the volunteering budget, we decided to make a monetary donation to CHSW.
"Nobody ever wants to think that they’ll need to use a facility like Little Bridge House, but at the same time, knowing that it is there in case they do is just fantastic.”
Nick Mason, commercial coordinator at Taunton RFC, added: “To be able to help a charity that does such valuable work when families are facing some of the hardest challenges was a no-brainer.
“We were delighted to welcome them to a matchday where we could raise a few extra pounds to support them but at the same time, raising awareness of the work they do was an honour. We very much hope to be able to help again in 2023 and beyond.”
Mary said the charity was ‘absolutely blown away’ by the donation.
“It’s an incredible amount of money," she said.
Being able to take the microphone at the auction and tell so many people what we do for children in this region with life-limiting conditions and their families was priceless for us.
“There would have been people there who didn’t know about the charity and the vital support it provides. However, there was a dad there watching the rugby who spoke to me about how his family had used our services when his little boy was born. That shows how we are here in Taunton and in this area, supporting local families.
"We are very grateful to Taunton RFC and British Gas for their wonderful support. Times are tough at the moment for everyone so the size of this cheque is all the more important. We can continue to provide care, which is exactly what we want to do, to support more local families.”