Ospreys bosses today revealed that the team would don special green socks when they take on Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday (KO 2.35pm) in their final home game of the season.
The Magners League clash against the Scottish side has been designated as a Ty Hafan Benefit Match following a unique tie-up between the region and Ty Hafan, the family hospice for young lives, which it is anticipated could raise as much as £40,000 for the charity between now and the end of the season.
To mark the occasion, Shane Williams, Lee Byrne, James Hook and co. have agreed to ditch their traditional black and white socks for the game, in favour of what has been described as 'Ty Hafan green', to represent the charity's branding. With the game being broadcast right across Wales, it is hoped that the added flash of colour in the Ospreys strip will help to raise awareness of what is such a worthwhile cause.
The partnership was launched at the Hospice in Sully last month, when the whole Ospreys squad swooped in to visit patients and their families. According to Paul Thorburn, Ospreys Strategic Development Manager, the visit made such an impact on the players that it had led directly to the switch to green socks for the match. He said:
"The decision to switch to green socks for this match was one that was made by the players themselves following the recent visit to Ty Hafan to launch this worthy partnership. The whole squad spent time there and felt that they wanted to make a statement to show their support for the partnership as a group of players. They came up with the idea of switching to green socks as it is a colour which is heavily represented on Ty Hafan's branding.
"While those attending the match, and we hope that there will be a large crowd present for the game, will be well aware of the significance of the partnership with Ty Hafan, and the green socks, the hope is that by making such a simple gesture, the message which reach a much wider audience, helping to raise Ty Hafan's profile still further."
With this Sunday's fixture designated as a Ty Hafan Benefit Match, bosses at the region handing £2 from every full price adult ticket sold for the game (£1 per child/OAP ticket) via the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office to the charity. In addition, the Ospreys have presented Ty Hafan with a substantial allocation of tickets for the game, which are a mixture of all values including hospitality, allowing them to sell them and keep all revenues raised. A collection of valuable signed memorabilia has also been handed over by the squad, which will be used as auction and raffle prizes, boosting Ty Hafan's coffers even further.
Ray Hurcombe, Chief Executive, Ty Hafan, said:
"This is a fantastic gesture by the Ospreys players, which we hope will help to spread the word about Ty Hafan and the good work that we do here at the Hospice. Their recent visit was a wonderful day that really went down well our children and staff. The whole squad really showed the human touch and their patience and humility was noted by everybody present. It's fair to say that while there were already a number of Ospreys fans here, that number has grown following the visit.
"This new and exciting relationship with one of Wales' most successful regional teams is fantastic news for us all as it will certainly help to raise the awareness of our services to life-limited children, young people and their families who currently have limited knowledge about Ty Hafan.
"Since we first opened our doors in 1999, Ty Hafan has provided support for more than 300 families across Wales, as the service has grown from one which was purely hospice focused to being a holistic, whole-family support network meaning that Ty Hafan is now able to reach out to families wherever they are in Wales. The number of families needing our help grows all the time, making Ty Hafan more vital today than ever before, which is why this partnership with the Ospreys will prove to be so valuable."
Duncan Jones of the Ospreys added:
"Having seen for ourselves the tremendous work being done at Ty Hafan, the guys wanted to come up with a special way to show our own support for the Benefit Match. Just one small gesture from us can help to spread the word for such a good cause. With green being such a prominent colour at Ty Hafan, it was the right colour for us to wear on match-day. This partnership is a fantastic initiative and I hope that our fans also get behind it and show their support by turning up for the Glasgow match in numbers."
Ty Hafan was established in 1999, entirely from public donations, as the only hospice in Wales to provide respite, palliative and end of life care to children who suffer from life limiting conditions such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis and Celebral Palsy. Some children are diagnosed at birth; others receive no diagnosis or at some point treatment is abandoned. Children and their families may receive Ty Hafan's support for many years or just for a few days at the end of life. Either way, Ty Hafan provides love, care and support for children, young people and their families absolutely free of charge.
Ty Hafan now costs over 2.5 million of pounds a year to run the hospice and receives no statutory funding at all from the Government, relying on funds raised through the generosity of donors and supporters.
Tickets for the match are now available to buy from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at http://www.ospreysrugby.com/, or via the Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004, with prices from £20 (adults), with child prices starting at £4.