A FLOOD-hit rugby club was overwhelmed when Wales and Lions player George North auctioned off his own memorabilia to raise £2,150 towards their appeal.
Youngsters from Lydney RFC held a bucket collection at a Q&A event involving the star at Monmouth’s Blake Theatre last Wednesday night (February 26).
And when George heard about the club’s plight, he took no time at all to say he wanted to help out, grabbing signed canvas pictures from the 2013 and 2017 Lions tours off his wall and a bag of kit to auction off as he left home.
Mark Hartery, director of event organisers Aitch and Aitch Bee, said: “When he arrived with the three items we were blown away by his generosity.
“The items he brought along were so special and we had great fun auctioning them off and when we raised over £2,000 for the flood repairs at the club we couldn’t believe it.
“He’d even taken the two canvasses off his wall to bring them. It was a brilliant gesture from one of the nicest rugby guys we have ever worked with and a real good news story."
The 94-cap Wales winger also posed for photos with fans, including members of the Lydney RFC Vixens girls’ team.
Lydney RFC’s grounds and clubhouse were badly flooded when the Lyd broke its banks two weeks ago, and a £20,000 JustGiving appeal was launched to repair the damage, with £12,600 raised before George’s auction.
The clubhouse is a community hub, but the many town groups that use the facilities alongside the rugby club, including hundreds of youngsters in the junior teams.
won’t be able to until the damage is made good.
Before the star’s awesome gesture, chairman Duncan Sleeman said the club’s insurance did not cover flooding, and they would have to raise the money to get up and running again.
"It’s caused catastrophic damage. It’s going to be tens of thousands of pounds to fix," he said.
"Unfortunately, we are on a flood plain so the premiums to cover for flooding are astronomical, so the club has insurance for non-flood basis.
"We lost about 15 to 20 fridges and freezers, cookers and dishwashers. Our rugby tackle equipment is 90 per cent destroyed.
"Also there’s the loss of revenue as we won’t be able to use the club house for the foreseeable future."
The clubhouse had only recently been refurbished but was totally ruined.
A tweet from the club after the auction said: “Awesome gesture last night from @George_North, £2150 raised towards the flood repairs after auctioning off some of his kit - including ltd edition Lions pictures he took from his wall on the way out!! Can’t thank @AitchandAitchBe enough for making it happen!
Another added: “Well done to our girls! But a huge thank you to George, it will all go to a worthy cause!”
Club member Dave Beddis told George: “Thank you so much for supporting our fundraiser for the flood damage at Lydney RFC. Hope our girls didn’t give you too much lip.”
Aitch and Aitch Bee also tweeted: “By far the best bit of last night was the unbelievable gesture from @George_North to offer some of his kit and some personal memorabilia for auction to raise a huge amount of money to assist the flood repairs at local club @lydney_rfc.”
Other town clubs hit by the Storm Dennis flooding included Lydney Tennis Club, whose clubhouse was flooded despite being 3m above ground level. Their JustGiving appeal topped £5,300 towards a £10,000 target last week.
Lydney Cricket Club had also raised £3,500 towards their £5,000 JustGiving appeal, while housebuilder Persimmon Homes East Wales also stepped in with a £1,000 donation to Lydney Town AFC’s youth team to help replace ruined equipment.