Derek Derenalagi, Gordon Brown, Lawrence Dallaglio
The game, which will be played at Twickenham Stadium against Bath in Round 21 of the Guinness Premiership on the 24th April 2010, KO 5.30pm, will not only celebrate St George’s Day but will raise money for Help for Heroes, an organisation that supports service personnel injured in combat.
Joining Dallaglio at No 10 were Mark Elliott, Chief of Staff who spent 25 Years in the Grenadier Guards and was involved in setting up Help for Heroes, and rugby loving serviceman Derek Derenalagi, who was severely injured in Afghanistan in July 2007.
The trio joined Mr Brown, unveiling the special St George’s Day Game jersey that will be worn at the home of English rugby on the 24th April, and carried the matchball that Dallaglio intends to take on his own visit to Afghanistan in March.
Joining forces with Help for Heroes, a charity that has forged a great link with sport, the Club will donate a minimum of £1 per ticket. Along with other fundraising initiatives and an ambition to sell out the 82,000 capacity stadium, Wasps are determined to contribute a six figure sum to this fantastic charitable fund.
Speaking today the Prime Minister said, "I am delighted to back the London Wasps St George’s Day Game in support of Help for Heroes. St George’s Day is a time to celebrate all that is good about this country. This match, which is certain to be a great game between two great teams, is a chance to do just that, whilst backing some of the people we can be most proud of on St George’s Day, our brave servicemen and women."
Gathering the support of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and with ticket sales already surpassing the 15,000 mark, there is already momentum and great support behind the initiative. With an agreement in place with the Rugby Football Union to host this game at Twickenham for the next three years, this fixture is set up as a great opportunity for Wasps and wider rugby fans to celebrate St George’s Day and get behind a worthy charitable cause.
The trio in Downing Street
Lawrence Dallaglio, Board Director, London Wasps said, "As someone who has had the great honour of representing my country on the playing field, I am delighted to be part of London Wasps St George’s Day Game and to be joining a real hero like Derek Derenalagi today at No 10. London Wasps is a Club that has supported the production of home grown talent and the national game actively for decades and therefore there is a huge symmetry in this project - taking London Wasps to the home of English Rugby, in honour of St George’s Day, whilst raising money for those who serve our country.
"It is extremely humbling when you hear Derek’s story and it is through the work of people like Mark Elliot and Help for Heroes that you see how you can actively make a difference. Everyone at the Club is hugely excited by this game and I am confident that our supporters and wider rugby and sports fans will not only get behind the fantastic charitable aspect, but really enjoy the opportunity to celebrate St George’s Day. We have two great English teams taking to one of the best stages in the game and with our plans to make this a day for all the family we hope this will become a great sporting event.
"We are delighted to have received such fantastic support already with over 15,000 tickets sold - that is already £15,000 that can help make a difference through Help for Heroes. Today’s opportunity to visit Downing Street shows just how wide an appeal this game has and we are delighted that Gordon Brown has backed the initiative. We hope that this launches our efforts to the general public and makes St George’s Day Game truly special for all involved."
Derek Derenalagi, of the Worcestershire, Forresters & Sheffield Regiment [WFRs], now known as the 2 Mercian Regiment, lives and breathes rugby, being a keen follower since childhood. He played to premier level rugby in his home country Fiji. After Derek moved to the UK, he represented his regiment in 7's & 15's. He played at center, no 13 & 12.
Derek played for Staines Rugby Club for a while and then left for Afghanistan for a 6 month tour of duty He was severely injured in Afghanistan in July 2007, resulting in a bi-lateral, above knee double amputation. Derek is married with one daughter. He is in his 11th year as a soldier with HM Forces.
Derek takes an active part in athletics and sitting volleyball with Battle Back, a services organisation which benefits from proceeds raised by Help for heroes, which helps injured soldiers get back into active sporting involvement.
He said, "I am one of the products of Battle Back and I have just completed my first season as a full-time disabled athlete specialising in shotput, javelin and discus. I was injured doing something I loved. I'm alive and I'm grateful for that. I run on futuristic prosthetic metal blades and throw the shot put and discus well enough to represent Britain at the highest level. I am ranked fifth in the world for disabled athletics, having twice broken the national shot put record. I am trying my utmost to get into the GB squad for the 2012 Paralympics. My heart is set on wearing a medal or two!
"I also take an active role in helping, encouraging & assisting other amputee soldiers at the Headley Court medical rehabilitation centre in Surrey
Mark Elliott, Anna and Derek Derenalagi, Lawrence Dallaglio, Steve Hayes
"I am grateful to Wasps and their involvement with the St George's Day Game to help raise money for Help for Heroes. The money raised by H4H is being spent on practical, direct support for the wounded; this means that people like me & my colleagues can live an almost near-to-normal life."
Steve Hayes, Owner, London Wasps added, "St. Georges Day has always been to me one of the most important days of the year, as an English patriot I believe we have plenty to be proud of. London Wasps are arguably the biggest supporter of English rugby, it is therefore fitting that the St. Georges Day Game against Bath offers an excellent opportunity to celebrate national pride, recognise and support our troops, whilst creating a unique annual event in the sporting calendar."
Mark Elliott, Help for Heroes, "When we started Help for Heroes in October 2007 we asked the great British Public to “do their bit” and raise money for those members of our wonderful Armed Forces who have been wounded. We believe that all members of our Armed Forces are heroes and we raise money for those that have been wounded. We need so much more to build Personal Recovery Centres. What Lawrence Dallaglio and London Wasps are doing with this special St George’s Day charity match is nothing short of inspirational, all are doing their bit for real heroes. Help for Heroes hopes that everyone will support this exciting event and have a great day out. We can’t thank Wasps enough for their support and commitment to ensuring we can make sure our wounded heroes get the very best."
Tickets for this game are on sale now - click here on how to buy and your full guide to the game or call 0844 225 2990.