The Ospreys today unveiled a new limited edition charity jersey that will be worn throughout this season's LV= Cup campaign, with a donation from each one sold going to Welsh charity The Joshua Foundation.
The launch of the specially designed jersey at the Ospreys' Llandarcy training base marked the start of a season-long relationship between the region and the charity, which aims to provide experiences for children with terminal cancer and their families.
Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones modelled the charity shirt at the launch alongside up and coming young Osprey Ashley Beck, and they were joined by youngsters Paul Thomas, aged 17 from Pencoed, Tom Harman, aged seven from Nelson, and Niall Griffiths, aged five from Upper Boat, along with coaches Filo Tiatia and Gruff Rees, who will lead the Ospreys for the LV= Cup campaign.
The Joshua Foundation was created in September 1998 to provide holidays and experiences for children and their families where the child is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Founded by Sarah Cornelius-Price after her son Joshua Cornelius, who died from a rare stomach cancer aged seven, the Joshua Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary on 4th December 2008 and in the years since the charity was founded it has raised more than £5million for kids with cancer.
The Joshua Foundation is the chosen charity for 2010 of one of the Ospreys long-term associates, the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed.
Just 1,500 of the shirts will be produced and it will only be available to buy exclusively from the Ospreys Superstore at the Liberty Stadium or online at http://www.ospreysrugby.com/, with the Ospreys making a £3 donation from each sale to the charity.
The striking design of the new charity shirt incorporates the colour scheme of the black and purple 2010/11 home jersey, with the addition of a 'star' pattern on the front to symbolise the stars of the Joshua Foundation, the children themselves.
Ospreys Managing Director, Roger Blyth, said:
We are delighted to be able to announce our partnership with the Joshua Foundation for the 2010/11 season, and in particular, to be able to unveil the new charity shirt which will be the visible sign of our ongoing support for such a fantastic cause.
Cancer is an awful illness that remains such a big problem, and the Joshua Foundation does some incredible work to provide wonderful experiences for terminally ill children and fantastic memories for their families, helping to ease their pain. Hopefully, by partnering the Joshua Foundation in this way, we will be able to help them with their work in a small way.
Our regular shirt remains the second biggest selling in the northern hemisphere domestic game so we felt that the best way for us to help was to produce a one-off jersey that would be sure to generate a lot of attention. The money raised via the sale of the charity shirts will help the Joshua Foundation to provide the experiences, while we hope that the publicity generated by the new shirt will increase awareness among the public of the fantastic work that they do.
We also fully realise that as such a high profile sporting organisation, the Ospreys can help to provide some very special experiences for children in Wales with the Joshua Foundation, and as such, we look forward to working closely with the charity to this end throughout the season.
Sarah Cornelius-Price, president of the Joshua Foundation, said:
We are thrilled that the Ospreys are supporting kids with cancer. So many children in Wales look up to these players as heroes and for them to know that these personalities are thinking of them, will do them the world of good.
I am looking forward to the financial aid the selling of the shirts will give the charity - they make ideal Christmas presents! Equally important will be seeing our kids meet the players and be VIP guests at the matches. I would like to thank the team management and players for all they are planning to do this season.
The playing version of the jersey will have the official Joshua Foundation logo attached, and they will be donated to the charity after use for them to be able to raffle or auction to raise further much needed funds.
In addition to the jersey, the Ospreys will also work with the Joshua Foundation in a number of ways between now and the end of the season, including collections at two homes matches, while the Ospreys will also host or attend a number of specially organised events in conjunction with the Joshua Foundation, with the aim of providing special experiences for a number of Welsh children. There will also be opportunities for the charity to access match tickets and for children to be match day mascots.
Ospreys captain, Alun Wyn Jones, said:
The work done by the Joshua Foundation is pretty inspirational, providing such wonderful experiences for terminally ill children and their families. Everybody at the Ospreys is pleased that we are able to help in this small way, it is vitally important that such a great charity gets the support it needs, particularly during difficult financial times when fund raising becomes that much harder.
Wearing the charity jersey is a good way of showing your support for the Joshua Foundation, and have no doubt about it, all the players will be pitching in throughout the season to do what we can to help the cause.
The Ospreys charity jersey will be available to buy at the Superstore or online from Friday 22nd October, in the full range of regular adult and junior sizes.