A young cancer patient and Gloucester Rugby fan yesterday joined Tesco staff and two first team players to launch the Tesco Charity of the Year partnership with the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and found out that he'll be the team's mascot this weekend.
Tesco have launched the partnership because they know what a difference £5 million could make.
Gloucester Rugby fan Alex Bayliss from Longlevens is 11 years old and is having treatment for a brain tumour that he's had since he was a baby. Alex's mum, Toni, knows first hand the importance of having a specialist nurse.
"Alex is undergoing chemotherapy at the moment but he has only four months left on a two-year course, so he's feeling very good about that," said Toni. "We've had a CLIC Sargent nurse from day one. Jane MacBean has been our CLIC Sargent nurse since Alex was three, and without her I just don't know how we'd have got through it all.
"She's the glue that holds everyone and everything together in this situation. Doctors seem to talk a different language to the rest of us and it can be very difficult to understand what's happening at times, but Jane has been our translator.
"It would be wonderful if everyone in our situation was able to benefit from a CLIC Sargent nurse like we have done."
"Alex loves all sport, but rugby is his favourite. He's a big Gloucester Rugby fan and is lucky enough to have a seat in the 1873 club enclosure, and he's also been playing rugby since he's started at St Thomas Rich's.
"In fact we have Jane to thank for that as well, because she was key to helping us find out from the experts exactly what Alex could or couldn't do, and thankfully they said he could start playing rugby, which he absolutely loves."
Luke Narraway and Greg Somerville of Gloucester Rugby, two of Alex's playing idols, were present at the event and Alex will also have the honour of leading the side out as their mascot at Sunday's LV= Cup Final against Northampton Saints.
The event will kick off a year of fundraising in Tesco stores, offices and distribution centres across the UK which aims to raise £5 million to fund specialist children's cancer nurses so that more children like Alex can spend more time at home and less time in hospital.
St Oswald's Road store manager Gareth Williams said:
"The money raised from the partnership will help local children with cancer spend more time at home. That's why all my staff are really excited about this partnership and keen to start fundraising!"
Tesco staff and customers will be raising money through a variety of fun and exciting events, ranging from sponsored sky dives and abseils to organising cake bakes and fancy dress days in store.
Donations will be made to the charity from the sale of certain products in store, while a contribution will be made every time a cash machine is used at Tesco. CLIC Sargent will also be holding a national collection outside Tesco stores later in the year.
The West Country Challenge Cup fixture against the Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Saturday (kick off 3pm) will be Gloucester's last chance to work on things like new combinations says Director of Rugby, David Humphreys.
Speaking after the 30-21 West Country Challenge Cup defeat at Bath, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of the improvements his team are making as preseason progresses but acknowledges that there is still work to do ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to the local media ahead of Saturday's trip to Bath Rugby in the West Country Challenge Cup, front rower Nick Wood spoke of the hard work put in across the extended preseason and highlighted the competition for front row spots in the squad.
Gloucester have named a 30 man squad for the latest round of West Country Challenge Cup action against Bath on Saturday, with Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressing the need to keep an eye on player workload ahead of what will be a long, tough season.
Describing the 50-7 West Country Challenge Cup win over Bath on Sunday as a '...good hit out...', wing Charlie Sharples admitted that it had been a good opportunity to put into practice things that the squad have been trying out in training in recent weeks.
Speaking to the local media after the 50-7 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, David Humphreys was happy with his squad's effort, with the most important aspect being the game time earned by his players.
Gloucester make wholesale changes to the side that started at Exeter last Saturday as they prepare to take on Bath at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Sunday in the West Country Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm). The Director of Rugby told GRTV that the players are raring to go and that he's looking forward to seeing different combinations in action.
Speaking ahead of the West Country Challenge Cup meeting with Bath Rugby this Sunday, front rower Paddy McAllister explained how he was looking forward to running out in Cherry and White after a preseason packed full of hard work.
A late penalty from Exeter fly-half Will Hooley gave the Chiefs a narrow 33-31 West Country Challenge Cup win over a heroic Gloucester outfit in a bruising encounter at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Gloucester Rugby will play their fourth and final West Country Challenge Cup fixture this weekend (Memorial Stadium, Bristol, 3pm) against the Exeter Chiefs, and have named a side featuring a host of first regulars.
On Wednesday evening, Gloucester Rugby duo Mark Atkinson and Tom Savage visited local rugby club Hardwicke and Quedgeley Harlequins RFC for the first session as part of the Gloucester Rugby in Local Clubs coaching initiative.