WIGAN Warriors captain Sean O’Loughlin is set to help three local charities during his testimonial season next year.
O’Loughlin plans to give a portion of the takings from various events over the next 12 months to the Alzheimer’s Society, Wigan Youth Zone and the Emma Hoolin Appeal, which is raising cash for the four-year-old with a stomach tumour.
First to benefit will be the Youth Zone, with a percentage of the proceeds of a pre-season friendly between Wigan and Huddersfield Giants at the DW Stadium on Thursday, January 19 going to the zone.
O’Loughlin said: “The Youth Zone seemed a good choice because it is going to be built at the same time as my testimonial year. Younger people tend to get a bad press and then there is all the news recently about high unemployment among younger people.
“The zone will give them somewhere to enjoy themselves, have some responsibilities and a place that they help to look after is all of great value.
“I know Dave Whelan and Martin Ainscough have done a lot to push the project forward and Dave Whelan does talk a lot about how the club’s predecessor did him a lot of good as a kid.”
Work is due to begin on the Youth Zone at Mesnes Playing Fields in the New Year. The £6.5m project was due to get started several months ago, but was held up by public inquiries and the threat of a judicial review lodged by locals opposed to the siting of the club.
It was then said that heavy plant would still be on the field before Christmas but Mr Whelan said today that it had been decided that there was no point in just getting started in early to mid-December only to down tools again almost immediately for the festive break.
Mr Whelan added: “It is very good of Sean to volunteer 10 per cent of the takings from the match. It’s a lovely gesture and we would thank him for that. It sets a great example as we look for those businesses and individuals to give the project their backing.”
The annual funding costs of the zone will be part funded by the council although the majority will come from charitable donations and sponsorship.
Other events in the testimonial year have yet to be finalised but will include a dinner in February.