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Lifelong Saints supporter donates memorabilia to Foundation cause

A lifelong supporter has donated his entire collection of Saints memorabilia to the Northampton Saints Foundation.

Michael Rance, who attended his first Saints match during the 1949/50 season, has kindly handed over a signed shirt, paintings, mugs, figurines and a bottle of whiskey signed by former Northampton Saints player Tom Smith.

And due to the recent announcement of Smith’s battle with cancer, the Saints Foundation will be donating the whiskey to support his fundraising efforts.

“It was wonderful to hear Michael’s Saints memories and his commitment to the Club has been fantastic for so many years.”

Catherine Deans, Foundation Managing Director

Rance is hoping that his donations will not only raise considerable funds for Smith’s cause, but also for the Saints Foundation and Tom Wood’s testimonial.

The items will be auctioned in due course via Wood’s testimonial events.

Saints flanker Wood, Saints Foundation managing director Catherine Deans and Heritage Lottery Fund project manager Claire Jones recently visited Rance’s home to collect the memorabilia.

They found out how, despite being diagnosed at an early age with a debilitating condition, he has been a loyal and faithful supporter, along with his wife, Joan, who passed away in 2017.

Rance proudly recalled his happiest moment, highlighting Saints winning the Heineken Cup at Twickenham in 2000.

He reflected on his travels to several away games, including Narbonne, Perpignan, Leinster and Biarritz, plus the World Cup and British & Irish Lions tour.

Now, if he is unable to watch his beloved Saints in person, he keeps in touch from the comfort of his home. 

And Deans was delighted not only to receive Rance’s donations, but also to meet the man himself.

“Michael and his niece, Sandi, were very welcoming and this act of kindness is appreciated by all of us here at the Foundation and everyone working on Tom Wood’s testimonial,” she said.

“It was wonderful to hear Michael’s Saints memories and his commitment to the Club has been fantastic for so many years.

“The Foundation will continue to stay in touch with Michael and we thank him for his generosity.”