Rugby players make big-hearted pledge in memory of former team mate

RUGBY players have made an emotional tribute to a former team mate who lost his life to cancer.

South Molton RFC raised nearly £6,000 at a charity match organised in memory of local man Michael Westacott, who died on June 15 last year following a short battle with the disease, aged 41.

The money has been presented to the North Devon Chemotherapy Appeal in a pledge that will now help thousands of local people fight their own battles with cancer.

Michael, known affectionately as “Fred”, died three months after being diagnosed with a very rare form of “liposarcoma” cancer.

He had spent much of the previous year supporting his wife Jane while she underwent chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

Jane said: “Michael had been there holding my hand during treatment, and within a couple of months of that part of my treatment ending I was there holding Michael’s hand while he had chemotherapy.”

The match between the club’s first XV and a chairman’s XV made up of current and veteran players who had played alongside Michael, took place in May this year.

Michael’s family have since chosen the chemotherapy unit appeal to receive the proceeds and club officials and family members presented the money to the charity earlier this month.

“The nurses on the unit looked after us both so well during our respective treatments that I felt that this was a good way to say thank you,” said Jane.

“The fantastic amount of money raised in Michael’s memory would not have been possible without the amazing generosity of South Molton Rugby Club in arranging the match and everyone who played on the day and contributed to the auction of pledges.”