BATLEY Bulldogs are aiming to smash the £100,000 barrier at their annual ‘Pink Weekend’ – but the three-day fundraiser has added poignancy this year.
This weekend is the first time the event will be held following the death of Beverley Nicholas, wife of the Bulldogs’ long-serving chairman Kevin Nicholas.
Beverley, who lost her battle with cancer in June, was the inspiration behind the launch of the Pink Weekend concept and was heavily involved in its organisation over the last six years.
She passed away on what would have been the couple’s 24th wedding anniversary.
Every season the club puts on a series of fundraising events to raise money for breast cancer charities, focused around one match, with players, fans, officials and community members all contributing. Events start today (Fri) and continue on Saturday, then Sunday sees Batley take on Heavy Woollen rivals Dewsbury Rams in a Championship derby that is expected to draw a large crowd to the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
This year, the Bulldogs are looking to raise at least £29,000, which would take the overall total for the six events past a staggering £100,000.
Beverley and Kevin’s daughter Alexandra Nicholas is now head of the ‘Pink Committee’ which organises the event, and she said: “Everyone feels really emotional and determined to make the money.
“Mum used to say people are so kind, that was her motto, and people have really backed us this year.”
The 22-year-old software engineer remembers her mother as being ‘ridiculously friendly.’
“She used to know everything about everyone, she was such a gossip, in a friendly way,” she said.
The Bulldogs’ players are always heavily involved in the fundraising attempts and noticeably this year prop Michael Ward raised over £4,000 by shaving his head in memory of Beverley.
Alexandra says the support shown by the club and its players doesn’t go unnoticed.
“With it being a rugby club, obviously we’re dealing predominantly with males,” she said.
“Men have a lower chance of contracting breast cancer so I think what the club does is such a selfless act.”
Batley Bulldogs have also joined forces with the charity ‘CoppaFeel’, to focus on prevention and early detection of breast cancer.
Alexandra said: “This year we’re promoting early diagnosis, CoppaFeel have sent us stickers showing the signs of breast cancer and how to properly check yourself.
“They’ll be up in all toilets around the club over the weekend. There’s little point in raising this money if people don’t know what to look out for.”
The weekend’s events begin at 2pm today (Friday), where afternoon tea is being hosted at Mount Pleasant.
On Saturday the club is hosting an amateur gala day, where local clubs will be going head to head at various age levels.
There will also be fairground rides, food stalls and a gin tent around the club grounds, with live music beginning at 6.30pm, running into the evening.
The Bulldogs face Dewsbury Rams on Sunday, with kick off at 3pm.
There will be a racing car simulator available on the day, as well as a Freddie Mercury tribute act performing before and after the match.
And Alexandra believes the Pink Weekend will continue for years to come, adding: “It will always be received as it is, people really enjoy it, it’s not just a charity event, people really enjoy coming.”