Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have donated £5,000 (€5,792) towards a charity football match in Wrexham, which has left the community “absolutely overwhelmed with happiness”.
Members of Wrexham Police FC and FC United of Wrexham, an amateur football and futsal club, will play in a match on July 1, with money raised going towards the children’s ward atWrexham Maelor Hospital.
The JustGiving page, set up by the police team, initially had a £5,000 target, but thanks to the generosity of the actors who co-own Wrexham AFC and donated £5,000, the target has been doubled.
“We didn’t expect it”, Andrew Ruscoe, the chairman, co-founder and manager at FC United of Wrexham, told the PA news agency.
“I just went on social media and people were going wild.
“When I saw the donation from Ryan and Rob, I was absolutely overwhelmed with happiness.”
The words ‘Up The Town’ were left as a comment on the fundraising page by the duo under the name RR McReynolds, alongside a purple flag emoji.
This is not the first time Deadpool actor Reynolds has lent his support to the football and futsal club, having donated £1,600 for new kits for the U12s team in March, and also donning a club T-shirt for a photo.
“Having his continued support is surreal really”, said Wrexham-based Mr Ruscoe.
“I know the police would echo this – and the community too – we just can’t thank them enough and I think this recent donation signifies that they both truly care about the Wrexham community and the people within it.”
Mr Ruscoe said that the children’s ward is “close to my heart” because staff there have helped his children when they have been “poorly”.
“It was where my daughter went when she was poorly and had breathing issues”, he said.
“She’s fine now – and my son went there when he had suspected kidney issues. He’s got his final check soon, but the staff have been fantastic.”
Members of the club have also visited on several occasions to bring presents and treats over Easter and Christmas, including in April of this year when they gave Easter eggs to children on the ward.
“(Staff there) have been really excited and want us to go in for a photoshoot and the police”, Mr Ruscoe added.
“They said diolch, which means thanks in Welsh, to express how thankful they are.”
Mr Ruscoe added that training for the match has been “fantastic”.
“The lads are raring to go.
“They know they’re up against some tough opponents as the Wrexham Police have got some good ex-semi-professionals in their squad, but we are not going to be pushovers,” he added.
“Kickoff will be at 10.30am hopefully and we’re hoping to get a good crowd at Bronwen’s Green and raise more vital funds for the children’s ward because they fully deserve it.”
Sergeant Dave Smith from North Wales Police added that he is “extremely grateful” to Reynolds and McElhenney for their generous donation.
“It really will help make a positive difference to the lives of many children from across the area.
“Behind our uniform we’re just like everyone else, my children have needed to use the children’s ward numerous times, the specialist care and staff are truly fantastic.
“We hope that with the money raised they will be able to continue to provide care and support for patients and their families when they need it most.”
The JustGiving page can be found here: justgiving.com/page/wrexham-maelor-childrens-ward
FC United of Wrexham is also trying to raise funds to stay afloat, which more information here: gofundme.com/f/fc-united-of-wrexham