From Rugby Ground to Hospital
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: It is sometimes the injured rugby player’s journey – from rugby ground to hospital.
But in one of the greatest rugby towns in the world it is the rugby ground that is going to hospital.
When you cross the Loughor Bridge, you enter West Wales where Welsh is spoken and rugby is played, and you arrive at Llanelli which, nearly 150 years old, has a rich rugby history – the club of Carwyn James, Derek Quinnell and his son Scott, Barry John, Delme Thomas, Alan Thomas, Ieuan Jones, Phil Bennett and JJ Williams, amongst many others. It is also the club of the famous Max Boyce song 9-3, the score in 1972 when they beat the All Blacks and the pubs ran dry. Imagine Stradey and no Felinfoel product.
Stradey Park was Llanelli’s home ground till 2008 when Parc y Scarlets, brand new, was opened and 130-year-old Stradey demolished. Many in Llanelli were saddened but must now surely be happy that Parc y Scarlets is playing its bit in beating the coronavirus.
“We have made the entire @principalitysta available to be used based on NHS requirements…and made advanced plans to transform relevant spaces into fully functional hospital environments…” https://t.co/MqFIAO9GZl
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) March 27, 2020
The ground’s buildings are being adapted to produce between 400 and 500 temporary but well-equipped hospital beds.
The Juno Moneta Indoor Arena training facility will house 252 beds. There will also be a hospital area in the Quinnell Lounge in the South Stand and the first-floor concourse.
The work is underway and is expected to be completed in two more weeks.
Scarlets, who are working in partnership with the Hywel Dda University Health Board and Carmarthenshire County Council, will be providing all the catering on site — potentially 1500 meals a day from the ground’s four kitchens.
Jon Daniels, the general manager of the Scarlets, said: “Scarlets are steeped in 148 years of history. We have always been part of the community and the community has been part of us. When something comes along like this which is unique, clearly the community needs us.
“We have relied on the support of our community through those 148 years and now we have an opportunity to give something back.
“To our fans, hopefully, you are proud of your club and what it is doing and also there is a part of our community which needs to be recognised here and that is all those workers, those warriors within the NHS and other critical services in getting our society through this.
“What we are doing is minuscule compared to the sacrifices that those people are making to get to work, to work long hours and get our community through this.
“It is hard work what we are doing here, but it is an absolute privilege to serve our community in any way we can.”