Shaun Parry-Jones is one of the charities longest standing beneficiaries. In 1980 Shaun was playing for Llandovery College against Ampleforth in the quarter finals of the National Schoolboy 7’s at Rosslyn Park . He tackled an opponent and fell awkwardly. Shaun broke his neck and is now tetraplegic but is still a great fan of the game.

Shaun said “When something like this happens to you there is great trepidation about the future. How will you cope? What will you do? How on earth can you fund the care and equipment you need? Where will you live? 30 years ago disability was viewed quite differently. Would I work? I certainly didn’t expect to.

The support that I received from the trust from the outset was incredible. Trustees visited me in Stoke Mandeville hospital to assure me that I would not be forgotten and if there was anything I needed I was only to ask. The trust has moved on. No longer do you have to ask, they ask you. One of the trustees is appointed to keep an eye on your circumstances and make sure that you are being catered for.

After hospital I went to University to Study the History of Art and Architecture. Art was something that I enjoyed. I did not think to study a vocational degree as it was unlikely, in those days, to result in employment. Having got my degree I decided to set up my own art business. I was very proud to show one of the trustees the gallery I had set up.

However, it was not practical to run a gallery from a wheelchair and after seven years I decided to change tack. I was going back to University to study law. I am not sure that it would have been possible without the support of the trust. I got through and had to move home in order to complete a training contract with a law firm. Again, the trustees helped.

The trust has always been a willing supporter not only from a financial point of view but also in a pastoral role. If ever you need to talk to someone the trustees are only a phone call away. Events are organised for injured players to get together which is an opportunity to catch up with the trustees. Nothing is too much trouble.

Having an accident of this nature is scary but life is less daunting when you know there is a safety net there to catch you should you get into difficulty. I am extremely grateful to the trust for everything that it has done for me, knowing the support is there should you need it is very comforting. « back