FRIENDS of a talented rugby player who died suddenly have raised thousands of pounds for charity in his memory.

Paul Hopkins, 23, from Mancot, died following a seizure in Brannigan’s nightclub in Chester in March, 2009.

His teammates from Mold Rugby Club have played a string of matches in his honour and have raised almost £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

It was the second time that Paul’s family and friends had come together to take part in Lil’ Hoppo Hi5’s at the Chester Road club – a no contact, five-a-side, touch rugby tournament.

Organiser Mike Roberts said: “The event is something Paul himself would have loved to have been a part of.

“We brought together male and female teams of all ages to take part in this fun day. It really does bring everyone together and remind us all that Mold RFC is part of the family.”

Showing his support at the tournament was Wales International Rob McCusker, a former Mold RFC player, who was fresh from a summer tour of New Zealand.

Warrington Wolves player Rhys Williams, who was born in Mynydd Isa, was unable to attend the tournament but sent a signed shirt which raised £100 in his absence.

Mike added: “When Paul died a group of us sat down and thought about where we would like this money to go. We agreed that anything that goes into researching heart defects and premature death is a worthy cause.

“This will be an annual event in which we hope to raise as much money as possible.”

Brothers Danny Jones, 26, and Aaron Jones, 24, from Buckley, also tackled the gruelling Three Peaks challenge in August to boost the charity’s coffers.

Paul, known fondly as “Little Hoppo” had worked at Watergates Wine Bar in Chester for more than three years.

He moved to Llandudno Junction a week before he died having recently been
promoted from Watergates to the Old Station Hotel.

This year’s event is taking place on Saturday, August 20.

See for more information.