A clutch of young Ospreys brought the series of pre-season Volunteers Days to a satisfactory conclusion on Wednesday when they gave a helping hand to ETSETH, a Swansea-based project giving well deserved people a chance to have their house renovated for free.
The brainchild of local plasterer Jamie Denyer, ETSETH was launched almost two years ago, when he committed to giving up at least one day a month to carry out work free of charge at the family home of people who have been nominated for assistance.
Since then, the ETSETH project has grown to now include a wide range of tradesmen from the local area, and Jamie’s work was recognised at the 2010 Swansea Pride Awards.
For the Volunteers Day, Jamie and his team of helpers were joined by Ospreys players Ben John, Craig Cross, Eli Walker, James King, Matthew Morgan, Lloyd Peers, Ross Jones, Will Taylor, Ben Thomas and Jamie Kaijaks, at the home of John and Barbara Pile and their family in Portmead, Swansea, where they spent the afternoon engaged in hacking off the old render on the external walls of the house, ready to then be damp-proofed and replastered.
Former soldier John and his wife Barbara were nominated for assistance recently by their neighbours. Barbara was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago and despite being told she only had six months to live, she continues to defy the medics. With John also unable to work, the house was in desperate need of upgrading due to damp seeping through to the property’s interior.
After a brief lesson in how to handle the hammer and chisel, the players soon swung into action, making an impressive impact on the outside render.
Speaking about the assistance from the Ospreys, Jamie Denyer of ETSETH said:
“It’s brilliant that the players have been able to come and lend a hand in this way. They’ve done really well and some of them have shown a talent for this kind of work, I could even offer them a job when they finish playing rugby!
“Speaking to the boys, they’ve all said how hard it is, but they’ve really enjoyed themselves doing something good for people in the community.”
Homeowner Mr Pile added:
“It’s been fantastic to see the Ospreys boys coming down and helping Jamie and his team out. People watch the Ospreys on TV and think that they are stars and something special but they’ve shown today that they aren’t, they are just normal people who live in the community and want to help where they can.
“ETSETH is a fantastic project and we’re really fortunate to have been nominated and to have Jamie doing this week, we’re really grateful for that. We are also really grateful to the Ospreys for their help, and for all the boys who have worked really hard this afternoon, doing something really special.”
Young centre Ben John said that it had been hard but worthwhile work in the community:
“It’s been very tough but we’ve enjoyed it. It’s important that we do these kinds of things and use the Ospreys profile to help local communities. I’m only from four miles away in Loughor so it’s really close to home and it means a lot to be able to do something that makes a difference.”
His teammate Craig Cross, a plumber by trade, enjoyed the opportunity to pick up tools and get stuck into the job:
“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of hard work, it never harmed anyone” he laughed.
“We are proud to have been asked to come along and help out today. It’s important that we are part of the community that we represent as Ospreys, and that our cause is Ospreylia, in everything we do.”
The Volunteers Day working with ETSETH follows on from two previous events, with players attending Swn-Y-Mor Residential Care Home in Aberavon two weeks ago, where they served residents afternoon tea before joining them on a stroll along the seafront, and then last week, players spent the afternoon at Y Bont Family Centre in Bridgend, joining in play-time with young children.
Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys, said that the Volunteers Day concept had proven to be a successful one:
“The events over the last three weeks have been a huge success, really allowing the communities across the region to get to know the real players, not what the common perception may be of the guys.
“The Volunteers Days were conceived by the squad as they wanted to do something for the people of Ospreylia, and they’ve really enjoyed getting out and about. This won’t be just a one-off, as we want to really build on the good work they’ve done during pre-season and help to create something really special within the region.
“We are really grateful to the three causes that have allowed us to volunteer with them, Swn-Y-Mor, Y Bont, and ETSETH, three fantastic Ospreylian organisations that really make a difference in the local community, and we look forward to seeing the people involved at the Liberty Stadium this season."
To see pictures from the day please visit our Facebook page here
For more information on ETSETH please visit www.etseth.co.uk