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Saturday, 26 October, 2002, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Welsh actors help spinal charity
Ioan Gruffudd and Matthew Rhys
Ioan Gruffudd and Matthew Rhys are attending the ball
Top Welsh actors Ioan Gruffudd and Matthew Rhys headed the guest list at a charity ball to help people with spinal injuries.

The charity, called Trust PA, was being launched at a gala ball in Cardiff in memory of a young rugby player who was paralysed in a rugby match and later died.

Paul Andre Blundell - known as PA - was a former Wales under-19 player who died in January five months after suffering spinal injuries while playing in a rugby game.

PA Blundell
PA Blundell was paralysed in a rugby game
Now his family and friends, which includes the two actors, have set up the trust to help other people who have had neck injuries.

Matthew Rhys had known PA since the age of five when they met in primary school.

He had spoken of the great shock he felt seeing his friend, who was a sports fanatic and very fit according to the actor, left paralysed by his injuries.

His fellow actor Ioan Gruffudd met PA when they played rugby together. Both agreed to be official patrons of the trust.

The pair are good friends, and former flatmates - they have even played a gay couple in the film Very Annie Mary.

Charity

PA, who was 26, had been playing for Keynsham RFC at a match against Maidenhead RFC in September 2001 when the accident happened.

It was the first league game he had played in following a badly broken leg which had kept him out of the game since the previous year.

Ioan Gruffudd
Gruffudd met PA through playing rugby
He had been making good progress, and was very positive about the future according to his family.

But he died very suddenly five months to the day after his injury from a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) which killed him instantly.

The Trust PA charity was set up in July and the family is hoping it will work alongside others carrying out spinal research.

Saturday's official launch was a five-course dinner dance at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay.

Organisers were hoping the 40-a-head 400-ticket event would be a sell-out.

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 ON THIS STORY
Matthew Rhys, actor
"It was difficult seeing my friend go through such a thing."
See also:

01 Mar 02 | Wales
10 Sep 02 | Entertainment
11 May 02 | Wales
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