Sale Sharks and Sharks Community Trust marked the club’s penultimate home fixture of the Gallagher Premiership season by inviting 40 people from a community group set up to support children living with brain tumours to the AJ Bell Stadium.
The youngsters and their families from the Manchester-based R-Kids were invited by club partner Printerland as part of their commitment to supporting the Trust’s work in inclusion.
And the group, including many who were taking in a Sharks match for the very first time, were treated to an exciting match as the home side ran out 35-27 winners over their northern rivals Newcastle Falcons.
R-Kids was set up by Clare Finch after her own Adam was diagnosed with an aggressive brain and spinal cancer at the age of eight.
Now 15, her son struggles with isolation and loneliness, and finds it difficult to make and maintain friendships due to needing so much time off school.
The condition comes with acute illness and complex needs and Claire hopes the community group will grow into a charity so she can help as many families as possible.
Sharks Community Trust’s Community Manager Vicky Irwin said: “Claire does some incredible work through R-Kids to support families just like hers and it was our pleasure to host them at the AJ Bell Stadium.
“A big part of our work at the Trust is all about introducing rugby to new audiences and most of the group were watching a Sharks game for the very first time. It was a fantastic occasion so hopefully we’ve got some new Sharks for life.
“Work like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of partners like Printerland. With their help we can introduce underrepresented groups to the sport and Sale Sharks to new audiences and offer our support to groups like R-Kids.”
Altrincham-based Printerland have been a long-standing partner of Sale Sharks having first agreed a deal back in 2004 to sponsor the Cheadle End of the club’s former home ground at Edgeley Park, before becoming official Family Stand sponsors at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2016.
Last year they extended their deal with club, which sees Printerland continue to deliver an inclusivity programme in the local region, supported by the Sharks Community Trust.
More than 10,000 match-day tickets have been given away to local charities in recent years by Printerland with the programme designed to introduce underrepresented groups in the North West to the game of rugby.