Community gathers around local rugby star

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By: MATTHEW JENNINGS

Having recently been selected to represent the Eastern Province as part of the EP U18 rugby team, Cole Kirkwood has received the support of the community, with donations coming from all over to help him raise the money he needed in order to travel with the team to the annual Craven Week. The Grade 11 Mary Waters pupil approached St Marks Sports Club in Alicedale, seeking assistance for what he required financially for the national week in July.

Needing R4500, St Marks Sports Club and Chesley Daniels worked together to gain sufficient funds for Kirkwood prior to the June 25 cut off. Last year, Kirkwood also represented EP, and the financial burden he has to bear is not a light one, especially without either of his parents who are both now absent in his life.

There was much support from Daniels, St Marks representatives as well as concerned parents who wanted nothing but the best for Kirkwood. After reaching out over Facebook to raise awareness of this cause, money came slowly began to come in. However, significantly, King Williams Town Magistrate, James Fritz, generously decided to donate R2500 to Kirkwood’s cause. Now, in full confidence the community can say that the full R4500 has been deposited via EFT into the EPRU account.  

An additional R1300 was also needed for the training camp, which came as late notice, but Kurt Solomon from KS Autos generously opted to be a sponsor and donate that amount of money toward Kirkwood’s cause.

In recognition of Kirkwood’s outstanding achievement in the face of adversity, as well as to acknowledge those who have contributed to the cause in various ways, a handover was organized at Mag. Fritz’s home on the evening of Friday, 15 June.

Kirkwood said, “I am so grateful for this opportunity and so thankful to everyone who has made what I love to do, possible. I’m very grateful to all the people who have always believed in me and helped me to be the best player I can be. I want to play well and make them all proud.”

During the handover, Mag. Fritz reminded Kirkwood of the support he had, as well as to always be respectful of everyone and to keep working hard to achieve further greatness. Thereafter, St Marks Sports Club recalled the journey that Kirkwood has been on.

All in all, the night served as a reminder that small acts of compassion, love and care can go a long way, and everyone present at the handover evening believes that Kirkwood has a successful and fruitful career ahead of him.

The generous donors towards Cole Kirkwood’s Craven Week goals gather at the handover evening. From left to right: Mark Sias (St Marks Rugby Club Management), Chesley Daniels, Magistrate James Fritz, Romario Fritz (Kirkwood’s EP teammate), Cole Kirkwood, and Danwyn Jewell (St Marks Treasurer).
Photo: Matthew Jennings

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