One of English rugby’s powerhouses has visited a Nuneaton hospice to find out more about the difference they are making to vulnerable people’s lives.

Nathan Hughes, who plays for Wasps and England, teamed up with club teammate Ben Morris for a tour of the Mary Ann Evans Hospice on Eliot Way.

The hospice relies on donations to provide free care and support to patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, whilst also supporting their families – a service that has been on offer across North Warwickshire since 1991.

Mary Ann Evans Hospice still needs to raise £1,340,300 from their £1,758,330 annual target to ensure it can continue helping up to 15 patients a day with 16-week long programmes.

Hughes and Morris spent time meeting with staff and also took part in some arts and crafts with patients and their families. The duo also delivered some Easter eggs that were donated by the general public at the club’s last home game.

Carly Roberts is a corporate fundraiser at the Nuneaton hospice, which had 500 clinical referrals last year, while 2,000 people also accessed their bereavement service.

She said: “Without donations we wouldn’t be able to continue providing the current level of service to the people that need our help, so having well-known names such as Nathan and Ben showing their support will hopefully raise awareness of our fundraising drive.

“A donation of £250 would cover the cost of a patient attending our day hospice service, or for a patient to receive a home visit if they are too ill to go outdoors. And £100 would fund a treatment session for people with lymphoedema.

“Both Nathan and Ben were brilliant with the staff and patients – they were really keen to understand what happens here on a day-to-day basis, and took time out to mingle with the patients that were there.

“We have a lot of Wasps supporters who volunteer and work at the hospice so they were quite star-struck when they saw the players walk in!”

Hughes, who is in contention to represent England at the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, spoke of his admiration for the charity.

“The tour was an incredibly humbling experience,” revealed Hughes.

“Some of the volunteers’ stories about why they work at the hospice were truly heart-warming, and listening to some of the journeys that patients have been on really hits home just how important this charity is to the community.

“We all know someone who has been affected by a life-limiting illness in some way, so I’d urge people to donate what they can to ensure this hospice can continue its long and proud history in Nuneaton.”