A FLINTSHIRE fundraiser whose life was saved thanks to the Wales Air Ambulance says the chance to take to the pitch with a team of greats was “just magic”.
A charity match between Wrexham Legends and a Lex XI side was held at the weekend to raise funds for the charity.
The Wrexham team was managed by club president and former centre forward Dixie McNeil just a week before he retires from his role of Wales Air Ambulance’s lottery manager.
And it was the Wrexham greats who turned the clock back as they strolled to a 4-2 win thanks to a Steve Watkin hat-trick and a solo effort from Dave Taylor, while Lex responded with goals from Ian Matthias and Mark Brown.
But turning out in the red shirt for the Wrexham heroes team was a dream come true for one dedicated Wales Air Ambulance fundraiser.
Flint High School teacher Mike Hughes is only alive today thanks to Wales Air Ambulance following a horrific crash which left him in intensive care with a blood clot on his brain.
He was co-driver in a Subaru Impreza which left the track and careered more than 60ft through the forest, before coming to rest 30ft down a ravine during the 2005 Cambrian Rally at Cynwyd, near Corwen.
Since making a full recovery Mr Hughes has been a dedicated fundraiser for Wales Air Ambulance and says turning out alongside so many Wrexham legends really was the stuff of dreams.
He said: “That was amazing. I have always been a Wrexham fan and playing alongside people like Karl Connolly and Steve Watkin was just magic. I want to play at the Racecourse now!
“The main purpose of the match though was to raise money for Wales Air Ambulance. Since my accident and the fact they saved my life I have helped fundraise as much as I can. It’s a fantastic and vital charity and really does save lives – I’m living proof of that.”
Dixie McNeil said he was delighted to have the opportunity to manage the Wrexham legends for the charity match.
He said: “I suppose it’s fitting as I am the president of Wrexham Football Club and retire as Wales Air Ambulance’s lottery manager next week. It was a good game and, despite a dodgy penalty, we were good value for the win. Karl Connolly was named man-of-the-match, which was another dodgy decision!
“However, I’m really grateful to everyone who turned out and helped us raise some money for such a good cause.
“Every penny helps and Lex Football Club did a great job putting the match on and organising an excellent raffle and other fundraising ideas.”