The Duke of Cambridge has accepted an invitation to become Patron of the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust which supports severely injured players from Wales.
He will fulfil the new role alongside his existing link with the sport as Vice Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
The Trust supports seriously injured Welsh rugby players who are all confined to wheelchairs after suffering spinal injuries in games. It was set up in 1972 and is the declared priority for charitable assistance from within the Welsh Rugby Union. The charity currently supports 20 seriously injured players and also gives financial help to players who have not suffered permanent disability.
The WRCT and the WRU have acknowledged The Duke’s acceptance of the invitation as a major boost for the fundraising activities of the charity. Since it was formed the WRCT has distributed more than £2m to the care of injured players and the establishment of a support network to help improve their quality of life.
The President of the WRU, Dennis Gethin, who chairs the WRCT, said: "I am delighted The Duke of Cambridge has agreed to become Patron of this charity which does vitally important work for some truly deserving individuals. I know His Royal Highness carries out an enormous amount of work for charitable causes so I am very pleased he has found the time to commit to our endeavours.
“We could not wish for a better figurehead and his involvement has extra significance given his very public support for Welsh rugby in general. He is always a welcome guest at the Millennium Stadium and has met and spoken with the injured players who are involved closely with the WRCT.
“I am proud to chair the WRCT and I know that this announcement will help galvanise support for the excellent work being carried out by the charity.”
The Trust is managed by ten trustees who give freely of their services and is supported by the WRU in its fundraising activities. Rugby supporters are regularly asked to contribute to the WRCT by bucket collectors at the Millennium Stadium during rugby matches.
The WRU makes an annual contribution to the WRCT as does the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust.