On Friday 18 January 2019 the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund hosted long standing friend in rugby, Matt Hampson from the Matt Hampson Foundation as well as five of his travelling companions at a lunch at Yonder Hill Wine Farm in Stellenbosch. Matt Hampson was seriously injured in a rugby training session in 2005 whilst playing for England U21. This left him paralysed from the neck down, reliant on a ventilator for breathing and requiring 24-hour care. Despite serious barriers to travel and true to his foundation’s slogan, Matt has made the trip to South Africa to do just that - GET BUSY LIVING. The event was attended by newly elected Chairman of the Players’ Fund, Jean de Villiers as well as other members of the board, recipients and staff of the Players’ Fund and representatives from SA Rugby.
The love of rugby transcends national borders and so do the relationships made as a result of international collaboration efforts. The Players’ Fund has crossed paths with the Matt Hampson Foundation on two occasions in the past. The first was in 2011 when young Herve Iradukunda (16), who had spent 14 years in exile in SA suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident just two days before he was due to join his family who were emigrating to France. The Matt Hampson Foundation with support from the Players’ Fund were able to reunite the family in France and have since been kept updated on Herve’s positive and uplifting story.
The Players’ Fund and the Matt Hampson Foundations again worked together again in 2015 when George Robinson (17) sustained a spinal cord injury while playing rugby in Cape Town during a school rugby tour from Stamford, England. Once stabilised and in intensive care in Belville, a medical flight was arranged and George returned home to his family thanks to the two organisations collaborating in the field of care across borders.
To further imprint this memorable afternoon into everyone’s memories Matt handed over a cheque of £5000 to the Players’ Fund which will be used to assist the 108 recipients of the Players’ Fund with mobility equipment and other necessities to improve their quality of life.
Summed up by General Manager of the Players’ Fund, Gail Baerecke; “In the year of a Rugby World Cup, this event illustrates the global link that a sport can create with the foundations being firmly rooted in honest friendships, care and the ethos of camaraderie so evident in those involved in rugby. We are lucky to be able to call this work.”