Ex-pros help rebuild Thatto Heath rugby club after harrowing ‘arson’

FORMER rugby league players have helped rebuild a local rugby club which was twice ‘targeted’ by arsonists.

Retired Super League players Adrian Morley, Mark Flanagan and Jason Roach took part in the Thatto Heath Crusaders festival fundraiser on Saturday October 1.

The fundraiser was organized to help rebuild the club after its training barn was set on fire in a suspected arson attack on Friday October 26.

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Former professionals came to play in the game Thatto Heath LegendsFormer Thatto Heath pros and players got involved in ‘Legends’ game

For the second time in almost three years, the barn suffered “extensive damage” due to the flames and would cost more than £100,000 to repair.

In addition to the cost of rebuilding the facility, the incident has caused a huge loss of revenue as the Crusaders cannot rent it to other clubs or sports organisations.

Former professionals came to play in the game Thatto Heath LegendsThe damage is thought to cost over £100,000 to repair

To help the club bounce back, Morley, Flannigan and Roach lined up against former Thatto players in a Legends game on Saturday afternoon.

The game is said to have drawn a large crowd to the Close Street premises, which provided all-day entertainment for guests.

Run entirely by volunteers, it also involved live music, a Northern Games fitness competition, children’s activities, and raffles and games.

Former professionals came to play in the game Thatto Heath LegendsThe fundraiser organized entertainment for people of all ages

Mick Denning, Chairman of Thatto Heath Crusaders, said: “The fundraiser was a great success and it was a great community day.

“The Legends game went very well but it wasn’t just about rugby. There was something for everyone to be involved in and everyone was there to celebrate what is good in the game. community and help support the club.”

After two incidents of suspected arson, the club are concerned that an attack could happen again and that their insurance will cover it in the future.

However, that won’t stop the club from rebuilding, and the Thatto Heath community has rallied around the club to show their support.

Former professionals came to play in the game Thatto Heath LegendsThe fundraiser would have brought the community together

Mick added: “I was very disheartened when the fire happened because it was the second time in almost three years.

“I can’t understand the mentality of those involved in this and you start to wonder why we are doing all this.

“But the local community really rallied around us and it was great to see so many people participating in the fundraiser to show their support.”

“I know it’s a tough time for everyone right now and people need to watch their pennies, but the support and donations we’ve received have been immeasurable, we’re so grateful.”

There will also be future events to raise funds for the club in the coming weeks, including sponsored walks and charity bike rides.

To continue raising funds for the rebuilding of the club, you can donate here.