RUGBY league side Crusaders will play their final match in the sport’s top flight tomorrow.

And the departure from Super League of the Wrexham-based club will be particularly emotional for staff at Nightingale House hospice.

In the two years the team has been based at The Racecourse ground it has twice chosen the hospice as its charity of the year.

Now, in advance of the season’s closing game at Wigan Warriors, the hospice wants to say a big thank you to Crusaders’ players.

They have put aside uncertainty over their team’s future to help launch this year’s Nightingale House 10k Run on Sunday, October 9.

Caroline Siddall, income generation director at Nightingale House, said: “The boys have been absolutely fantastic. We have some great memories and photos.

“They have posed wearing feather boas, been swimming with plastic ducks, held banners and even worn handcuffs.”

Crusaders helped to launch the hospice’s shop in Flint and the Go Yellow campaign, helping to raise much needed funds.

The players have also signed shirts to be used in raffles, taken part in a Lock Up Your Boss event and promoted hospice facilities such as the hydrotherapy pool.

Many of the players have also donated unwanted clothing and furniture to help support the hospice charity shops, where they have even helped by serving customers.

Caroline added: “We wish the team luck in their game against Wigan Warriors and all the very best for their future rugby careers. We will miss them.

“I am sure the local community would join me in thanking them for an exciting two years of Super League rugby.”

Nightingale House Hospice provides specialist palliative care services, free of charge, to patients and their families across Wrexham, Flintshire and East Denbighshire.

This year it will cost £2.46 million to run the hospice, which equates to £6,700 per day.

Only 19 per cent of this comes from government sources, with the hospice relying on the generosity of the communities it serves.