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Rob McElhenney praises Welsh police over charity football game

20 May 2024 3 minute read
Detective Constable James Moult, Rob McElhenney and Sgt Dave Smith

Wrexham AFC joint owner Rob McElhenney has thanked a team of Welsh police officers for organising a football match to raise funds for children’s hospitals in Philadelphia and Vancouver.

The match took place on Sunday afternoon in Broughton, Flintshire, North Wales, between Wrexham Police FC, which is made up of members of North Wales Police who play off-duty and Happy Somedays, an inclusive for-all group who are based in south Manchester.

Giving back

Wrexham Police FC wanted to use the game as an opportunity to “give something back” to actors McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds who have supported Wrexham in a “significant” way, so decided to raise money for both British Columbia (BC) Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as Reynolds was born in Vancouver and McElhenney hails from Philadelphia.

So far, some £334 (425 dollars) has been raised, which is to be split between the two hospitals.

Rob McElhenney (left) and Ryan Reynolds, Wrexham AFC joint owners. Image: Jacob King/PA Wire

Sgt Dave Smith, 38, from Wrexham Police FC, told the PA news agency: “Ryan and Rob have done a great deal for Wrexham and made a significant impact on the area and made such a difference to people’s lives.

“We just wanted to do something to give something back.

“We’ve also got a lot of support from the States and Canada because of how much Ryan and Rob have supported us, so we thought it would be good to raise money for a hospital in Philadelphia and a hospital in Vancouver.

Ongoing support

Over the past year, the celebrity Wrexham AFC owners have donated close to £20,000 to fundraisers set up or publicised by Wrexham Police FC.

In February, they donated £10,000 to a fundraiser in aid of the family of a four-year-old called Louis Perrin, who was born with a rare genetic variant of the TUBA1A gene which causes him to have painful leg spasms, limited mobility, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Ahead of the match, McElhenney praised Wrexham Police FC for organising it, posting to X: “Love this. Thank you.”

Sgt Smith said: “I didn’t expect to get the message from Rob.

“(McElhenney and Reynolds) don’t have to support us, but the fact that they do shows that despite their celebrity status, they’ve got that human side and they do generally care about the Wrexham area and really do want to help the community.”

Wrexham Police FC won on the day, but Sgt Smith said victory and the score were “irrelevant”.

“For us, it was more about the charity aspect and we got a photo of both the teams together with an American flag and Canadian flag to show our support for the hospitals and Ryan and Rob and the fanbases we have in America and Canada,” he added.

Over the past 14 months, Wrexham Police FC has raised just over £43,000 for various charitable causes.

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