The gift of a case of gin from the Hollywood stars keen to buy Wrexham Football Club to the historic pub alongside the stadium is helping a family support charity backed by North Wales’s policing chief.
Regulars at the famous Turf Hotel alongside the club’s Racecourse Ground have been enjoying 18 bottles of Aviation Gin donated by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney – with the cash from the sales raising £1,300.
The football club, Wales’s oldest, was actually formed at a meeting at the pub in 1864 and the ground is the world’s oldest international football stadium.
Before the new stand was built customers could watch games free from its rear balcony.
Now Turf landlord Wayne Jones has handed over £500 of that windfall to Home-Start, the charity based in the town which helps families struggling to cope with raising young children and which is a favourite of North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.
Wayne said: “We just received this parcel with a case of 18 bottles of Aviation Gin and a note from Ryan Reynolds saying: ‘To Wayne, see you soon and see you often.’
“It’s not every day a Hollywood superstar sends you 18 bottles of expensive gin.
“We’ve just sold the gin through the pub with the proceeds going to Home-Start, the local food bank and the Special Care Baby Unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.”
Home-Start Manager Pam Hoyle said: “I’m really grateful for this donation from Wayne and the customers at The Turf and also for the continuing financial support we get from Arfon.
“These have been difficult times for us because we rely on raising £14,000 each year ourselves which allows us to help families and it just hasn’t been possible to hold fund-raising events in the pandemic.
“At the same time, we have seen an increase in challenges for families, particularly of domestic abuse, as families have had to spend so much time together in lockdown. Victims and their children are stuck with the perpetrator and are unable to ask for help or talk through what is happening because they have no privacy.
“Domestic abuse isn’t the only trauma families are suffering but we know that prevention through our support is better than the cure. We know that families who are able to meet their children’s needs will be raising children with resilience and therefore preventing them entering into difficulties later on in life such as being a victim or perpetrator of crime”
Arfon Jones, a Wrexham AFC season ticket-holder and long-time supporter of the club, said: “The work that Home-Start do is so important that it is vital that we support them and I provide £25,000 a year through my Early Intervention Fund.
“Crime is a symptom, the underlying causes of crime are what have to be addressed and if we can help Home-Start to prevent children falling into a life of crime then that’s vital and that is what Wayne and the customers of The Turf are helping us to do.”
Wayne, who runs a butty van in the pub car park on Mold Road, added: “We also support Wrexham FC and although they’re not a charity they’ve needed help so we live-stream the games and charge our regulars £5 a time to watch and that raised over £3,000 for the club.
“They’ve been in the doldrums lately but hopefully now that Ryan and Rob have taken over the good times will be back at The Racecourse.”