SATURDAY was another special day for Wigan sports fans with the Warriors lifting the Challenge Cup at Wembley.
Everyone who went to the game will remember for the rest of their lives but for one special group of people there was cause for extra enjoyment.
Wells Sports Foundation’s Box 4 Kids provides a unique opportunity for ill and disabled children and their loved ones to enjoy a VIP day at major sporting events.
Children enjoy a meal and watch a match in the comfort of an executive box and have a dream-come-true experience that they and their families will remember forever.
It was set up by millionaire businessmen Barrie Wells, who hosted the eight children from the Rainbow Ward at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in a box at Wembley on Saturday.
The scheme was created by Barrie through his charity, the Wells Sports Foundation and he has treated children from a number of towns and cities to games.
Barrie said: “I asked Club Wembley if they had any free for the final and could they spare it for us.
“I wasn’t sure of the answer I was going to get but what we received is amazing. We’ve got the box for free and I’ve covered the cost of the meals.
“All the kids here are from Wigan hospital. We hired a coach and picked up and brought them down.”
His connection with Wigan comes through Olympian Jenny Meadows, whom he sponsors.
He approached Jenny and her husband and trainer Trevor Painter about setting something up and they were only too happy to help. Unfortunately Jenny couldn’t make the game but Trevor travelled down and even set the children up with a photo quiz.
He said: “Barrie is a sponsor of Jenny and we have got friendly over the last four years.
“The scheme itself and the box we have been in is fantastic and absolutely amazing.
“The kids have had an absolutely fantastic day and have been treated like royalty.”
Janine Scott, hospital play specialist, Rainbow Ward, RAEI, said: “This opportunity has provided both children and parents with something to look forward to and a great outlet for them to enjoy time outside the hospital.
“It is satisfying for the staff of Rainbow Ward to offer children who have attended the ward, with such an exciting experience.
“Seeing the delight on their faces when offered the opportunity from Wells Sports Foundation to see their local rugby team from a box at Wembley, was amazing!”
The Box 4 Kids initiative is now being rolled out nationwide with boxes to date already being hosted at sporting venues including Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC, Stoke City FC, Warrington Wolves RLFC, Wigan Warriors RLFC, Leicester Tigers RUFC, Saracens RUFC, Wasps RUFC, Twickenham, Wembley and Wimbledon.
l See Thursday’s Wigan Evening Post for an eight-page fans’ picture special.