Christchurch receives huge donation
January 8, 2012
The England players inspect the damage in the AMI Stadium © Getty Images
Rugby in Christchurch has received a huge boost following a donation of NZ$400,000 (£202,000) from Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL).
The donation is aimed at helping assist the rebuilding of the rugby infrastructure in the city, following the earthquake in February of last year. Christchurch was due to host matches during the 2011 World Cup, but following damage to the city - including significant structural damage to the AMI Stadium - the organisers of rugby's showpiece event were forced to look elsewhere. But with the Crusaders set to play the majority of their matches back in their home city in the forthcoming Super Rugby competition, the donation will provide another timely boost to the community.
The donations were made via the website www.rwcchristchurchappeal.com from fans all around the world and teams such as Australia, England, France, Scotland and New Zealand all displayed their support for the appeal during the World Cup by visiting the city.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The response of the global Rugby family in uniting as one behind our friends in Christchurch has been tremendous. The RWC Christchurch Appeal allowed fans from around the world, the IRB and Rugby World Cup Limited to collectively show our support."
"Everyone involved wanted to send a clear message to the people of Christchurch that they were still at the heart of Rugby World Cup 2011 and the stadium of four million hosts and the Appeal was one way of letting them know that rugby worldwide cares. On behalf of the International Rugby Board and Rugby World Cup Limited I would like to thank everyone who has supported and promoted the Appeal and each and every fan who has cntributed to a cause that will significantly assist the Rugby community in Christchurch."
And Dave Rhodes, the chairman of the Canterbury RFU, has said the donation comes as a "tremendous boost". "We are absolutely delighted with the announcement of the donation," Rhodes said. "It is a tremendous boost to the Trust as it works to restore the capacity of the Rugby community in Canterbury - particularly on the east side of Christchurch where so much damage has occurred and so many lives have been disrupted.
"This donation gives the Trust a real opportunity to help deliver Rugby to those parts of our community that are struggling the most - we are very, very grateful to RWCL and the generosity of the global Rugby family."
Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, added: "In Christchurch we were heartbroken to lose our Rugby World Cup matches after the February earthquake, but the tournament reached out to us and we were able to enjoy and feel part of what was the biggest sporting event ever hosted in our country."
"We are hugely appreciative of this donation particularly given the current situation in our city. I would like to express our gratitude to RWCL, the International Rugby Board and the global Rugby family for their support. Their generosity will greatly assist the rebuilding of the Rugby community in Christchurch."
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