Rugby match aids Kiwi quake relief

Players and organisers at the event at Hartlepool Rugby Club
Players and organisers at the event at Hartlepool Rugby Club

A TEAM effort by rugby players raised hundreds of pounds towards relief efforts in earthquake-hit New Zealand.

Town rugby players Jane Lennox and pal Leanne Geritz decided to hold the mixed tag rugby tournament to help Christchurch following the large quake in February.

Jane Lennox

Jane Lennox

Jane’s sister Hilary, 28, has lived in New Zealand for more than two years and felt the tremors which caused massive destruction in the city of Christchurch.

The event held at West Hartlepool Old Boys Rugby Club was a big success and is on course to have raised £500 for the Red Cross leading the relief efforts.

Jane, 30, who used to play for Hartlepool Ladies Rugby Club, which no longer exists, said: “Hilary wasn’t in Christchurch on the day of the earthquake. But we have a lot of friends who live there and have travelled through so doing so it was more tangible.

“Leanne and I are travelling out there in September and thought we couldn’t go all that way without doing something to help the area.”

Jane’s sister lives in Dunedin which runs along the same fault line as the 6.3 quake which struck Christchurch on February 22.

At least 65 people lost their lives and dozens were trapped in wrecked buildings.

Four local rugby teams took part in the charity match including one from Rover, West, Old Boys and a Barbarians side made up of former Ladies players and friends.

Jane, a critical care practitioner at Middlesbrough’s James Cook Hospital, said: “It went really well.

“Everyone made the effort and we managed to generate over £400.

“With donations still to come in we hope to achieve at least £500.”

Jane said the day was such a success that she plans to make it an annual fixture in the town’s fundraising calendar to support a local charity and boost camaraderie between Hartlepool’s nine rugby clubs.