A RUGBY club chairman with terminal cancer was “blown away” when he raised more than £34,000 in a charity match.

Wayne Thomas, 52, was diagnosed with oesophageal and liver cancer in July last year, which doctors said was inoperable.

But after finishing four months of chemotherapy Wayne has come out fighting, raising £34,055 for Cancer Research so far.

Wayne, chairman of Newick RFC, organised and played in a charity match on Saturday which attracted famous faces including broadcaster Piers Morgan, an old school friend.

Wayne, who lives in Leveller Road, Newick, said: “I have been completely blown away and humbled by the support for this event.

“It was great to be back on the pitch surrounded by so many faces.

“People even flew in from abroad and changed holiday plans so that they didn’t miss the event.

“I started off thinking this would raise a few hundred pounds, but £34,000 is unbelievable.”

Wobblys Invitational XV, Wayne’s team made up of new and old faces in the club, upset a Newick Invitational XV of first-team players, winning 26-17.

The match saw players as young as 17 and as old as 62 take to the field.

Held at King George V Playing Field in Lewes, the club hosted an auction that raised £5,950 for charity, as well as a hog roast and disco.

Wayne added: “When you hear the fateful words ‘you have cancer’ you immediately think, ‘why me?’

“But actually cancer touches us all in some way.

“I am now through the chemotherapy and felt it was right to celebrate as well as raise money for a brilliant charity.

“What better way to do that than to bring the local community together for a friendly game of rugby?”

Louise Wardle, fundraising manager for Cancer Research, said the money Wayne raised will make “a real difference”.

“With one in two of us experiencing cancer in our lifetimes, research is crucial if we are to ensure that more people survive the disease,” said Louise.

“Whilst this is largely thanks to our scientists and their treatment breakthroughs, those breakthroughs are only possible with support from people and communities like Newick RFC.

“We can’t thank them enough for their support and their donations.”

To donate to Wayne’s campaign, visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/newick-rfc-kicks-cancer-into-touch.