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Charity rugby match for Anna this weekend

Former Tadley RFC player to raise money for the charity which helped his late wife

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas

fiona.tomas@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886639

Charity rugby match for Anna this weekend

A WIDOWER will wear special colours at Tadley RFC this Saturday to help tackle the challenges faced by women with cancer. 

Thatcham resident Ed Smith will run out as part of the Victoria’s Promise XV against Tadley Tigers, to raise funds for the charity which helped his late wife, Anna.  

Mr Smith is aiming to raise £20,000 for the charity, which provides care and support for women under the age of 40 who are affected by cancer and the emotional, mental and physical challenges they experience with the disease.

A former player for Tadley RFC, Mr Smith has been involved with the club for many years and is now a social member, along with many of his friends and former teammates.

The 35-year-old first discovered Victoria’s Promise while Mrs Smith was receiving treatment at the North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke, after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016.

The charity provided a range of support for Mrs Smith, such as counselling, nutrition talks and beauty treatments.

She was also included in a WhatsApp group, where other women with cancer could organise meet-ups and social events.

The disease spread to Mrs Smith’s liver and lungs and she died on June 7, at St Michael’s Hospice, Basingstoke, eight days after being admitted.

Despite being seriously ill, she managed to marry her husband Ed and fit in a three-day honeymoon before her death.

Speaking about the charity, Mr Smith, who has a one-year-old daughter called Alba, said: “I can’t speak highly enough of Victoria’s Promise.

“When I visited the charity, they were in a semi-detached house and four members of its staff were crammed into a room.

“The staff were the nicest people you will ever meet.

“Obviously, fundraising has taken on a different meaning now.

“I want to give more back because they helped us so much.”

The match on Saturday will kick-off at 1pm and will feature former Gloucester and England Number 8 James Forrester.

It will be followed by England’s televised crunch autumn international fixture against New Zealand.

There will also be a barbecue and a raffle after the game.

It is the latest event being organised by Mr Smith, who raised £29,570 for Macmillan Cancer Research and The Basing Unit last year – the cancer specialist unit at the North Hampshire Hospital.  

A special bespoke rugby kit for Victoria’s Promise players has also been made for the occasion, designed by Swindon-based sportswear company Silverback which will bear the charity’s logo and Mrs Smith’s favourite colour – purple. 

As part of his wider fundraising effort for Victoria’s Promise, Mr Smith will take part in Spine Challenger – a gruelling 108-mile trek across the Pennines in January within a time limit of 60 hours. 

To sponsor Mr Smith, visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/doitforanna    

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