Posted: 02.06.20 at 11:44 by Francesca Evans
A global sportswear brand has joined forces with a north east rugby club to raise funds for NHS charities.
STINGZ™ Sportswear, founded by Devon-based Ernie Stobbs, has teamed up with Wallsend RFC to design the club’s bespoke home kit for the 2020/2021 season and saw an opportunity to do something special to raise both awareness and funds for the NHS following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Stobbs, who is originally from Wallsend, but now lives in Axminster, said he was extremely proud to not only work with his home rugby club, but also help raise money to support vital NHS projects back home in the north east.
He said: “During the design stages of Wallsend RFC’s home kit and off-field collection, I put the idea of an away kit to them. I came up with the idea of donating the playing kit with the NHS logo on the front, as a way to show our appreciation for the NHS and everything they are doing for people during these difficult times.
“After numerous conversations with Wallsend RFC, we decided to do something we have never done before, which is to make our rugby shirts available to the public. While our original intention was just to show our gratitude towards the NHS, we decided that maybe we could go one step further, and raise vital funds for the NHS and its charities in the process.”
The STINGZ™ - which also has a strong presence in Asia, Pacific and has designed a number of bespoke playing kits for local and international teams including Jamaica Rugby League, Serbia & Kazakhstan Rugby Union, Beer Albion FC, Farway United and Kernow FA - immediately won the backing of the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in the north east, who have officially endorsed the use of the NHS lozenge.
All profits from the limited edition replica away playing jersey, together with a specially-designed supporters jersey and the Wallsend hoody, will be donated to Bright – the trust’s registered charity that funds a wide variety of projects to benefit patients, staff and people living across North Tyneside and Northumberland.
Brenda Longstaff, head of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Bright charity, said: “We are immensely proud that the NHS logo will adorn the new kit and are delighted that STINGZ™ and Wallsend RFC have decided to raise money for our Bright charity.
“This is an unprecedented time for the NHS and our teams across North Tyneside and Northumberland are working incredibly hard to go above and beyond the call of duty to respond to the increasing demands on our service.
“Communities pulling together to support one another has been a powerful and uplifting part of our response to this pandemic as a country and this is an excellent example of this happening right here.
“While funds raised will make a massive difference to our patients by improving their experiences of receiving care, and have a positive impact on our staff and volunteers, we hope this partnership will also boost the team on the field too.”
Director of Rugby at Wallsend RFC, Peter Hamil, said it was an honour to help frontline staff during these difficult times.
“Helping such dedicated, hardworking people like those who are working on the frontline is a great honour," he said.
“A lot of people are going through tough times at the moment, so to help our brave NHS workers, is something we jumped at the chance to support.
The replica Wallsend NHS Jersey, replica training t-shirt and hoody, is available to buy direct from Wallsend RFC on their website.