On the ball with donation

Hartlepool Power Station Visitor Centre co-ordinator Louise Corser with rugby team member Paul Twizell and fellow rugby team members (left to right) Luke Twizell, Mel Nuru, Dave Reay,Jack Smith, Rob Thompson, Graeme Smith and Johnny Collingwood.
Hartlepool Power Station Visitor Centre co-ordinator Louise Corser with rugby team member Paul Twizell and fellow rugby team members (left to right) Luke Twizell, Mel Nuru, Dave Reay,Jack Smith, Rob Thompson, Graeme Smith and Johnny Collingwood.

WHEELCHAIR rugby players have a new kit and equipment thanks to help from bosses at Hartlepool’s nuclear power station.

And after getting the donation towards the new supplies, team members from the Sedgefield-based Bulls team said it was invaluable support.

The new kit will get its first outing in Prague when the Bulls play in a European tournament.

The North East Bulls wheelchair rugby club was formed in 2002 and has male and female players with a range of disabilities.

The group approached EDF Energy, which runs Hartlepool’s nuclear power station, for a grant.

The money was given from the station’s Sporting Legacy fund which was set up after the 2012 London Olympics to help local groups.

Graeme Smith, of the rugby club, said: “The company has kindly given us £7,600 which will allow us to buy new equipment and also kit for the players.

“We have a vibrant club based at Sedgefield Community College and compete in national tournaments around the country.”

He said the club’s successes had already included winning the 2012/13 Division Two Title and earning promotion to Division One.

Graeme added: “Wheelchair rugby is an invaluable way to regain independence after spinal-cord injury and we believe there is no better sport that accomplishes this.”

Simon Parsons, station director at Hartlepool power station, said: “I am delighted that we can support this group which offers people with disabilities a chance to play a contact sport.

“Having watched wheelchair rugby at the Olympics I was very impressed with the commitment of all involved and I am delighted we have such a successful team on our doorstep.

“I hope our partnership will help them reach the next level.”

The club has already seen two of its players reach international level, Noel Thomas and Mike Kerr, and Luke Twizzel, 18, is a member of the GB team.

Graeme added: “ Having the experience of Noel, who is now team coach, is clearly showing as Luke has progressed into the national side.

“And Mike Kerr has appeared for the ParalympicsGB side at the 2012 Paralympic Games. “