Cardiff Blues’ Kiwi contingent turned out at the Cardiff City Stadium yesterday to lend their support to the Christchurch earthquake appeal.
The New Zealand city was devastated by an earthquake that struck a week ago today.
The death toll now stands at more than 100 with another 200 people still missing. On top of the loss of life, there has been widespread damage to the city’s infrastructure.
Michael Paterson, Ben Blair and Casey Laulala all lived in the city and played for Canturbury Crusaders while fellow Kiwi’s Paul Tito and Xavier Rush also have connections.
And they have got together to put their support behind the Red Cross Appeal. The Blues players are offering a number of prizes to be auctioned including a coaching session, a signed Cardiff Blues shirt and Premier Club tickets.
Blues, second row, Mike Paterson said: “The Kiwi boys here have got together with some shirts to auction off, we’re trying to do our little bit to get Christchurch back on its feet.
“It’s a tragic time. I was only there two weeks ago and the saw for myself the damage from the previous earthquakes and that was daunting enough.
“To see the latest footage is pretty scary. A lot of time and thoughts have been with my family and friends in Christchurch.
“Thankfully they’re are all accounted for and I’ve been in constant contact with them, just being a voice to talk to at the end of the line.
“If I could I’d like to be there but it’s a long way to go and I probably couldn’t do anything anyway.
“But it’s two degrees of separation to where I know people who’ve passed away.
“I guess it’s down to the experts now other than that it’s trying to get back to normal as much as they can. But it’s going to take a long time.”
Cardiff Blues captain Tito, added: "Obviously the three boys from Canterbury are more affected by the quake than me and Xavier but we are there for them.
"They have a lot of family and friends who are down in Canterbury so we are getting behind what is a very good cause.
"It's going to take a long time for the city to get back on it's feet and we wanted to help out in some small way.
"You feel pretty hopeless at not being able to help, being so far away from home, but this is the least we could do."
The Blues are accepting bids for the following package, with a reserve price of £500. The highest bidder will receive the following fantastic prize:
• A coaching session with the five Cardiff Blues New Zealand players at your local rugby club or school, open to all age grades, from minis to senior sides
• A Cardiff Blues shirt signed by the entire squad
• Four Premier Club tickets for the Cardiff Blues v Munster match on Friday 23 March, 7.05pm kick off at the Cardiff City Stadium
To place you bid, simply email your name, address, contact telephone number and your bid to firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be made by making a cheque payable to the British Red Cross and sending it to:
New Zealand Earthquake Appeal
British Red Cross
PO Box 196 St Helier
Jersey JE4 9RX
Or credit card donations can be made by calling the British Red Cross Fundraising Office Tel. 639895 or visit: www.redcross.org.uk