The Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation is excited to announce that the all-new documentary ‘These Sporting Lives’ has premiered exclusively on Amazon Prime.
The new screening, directed and produced by Luke Bower-Massey, brings the focus on three Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation players, bringing to life the way physical disability rugby league has changed their lives forever.
After being founded in 2018, Trinity’s PDRL side have been making huge in-roads throughout the disability game.
After starting through casual matches against fellow sides, the game took another step forward in 2019 when they came runners up in the inaugural PDRL Grand Final before making a half-time appearance at Super League’s showpiece event in front of over 60,000 people.
The rise of the game has been quite remarkable over the past few years, with six Super League side’s all boasting PDRL teams. This meteoric rise caught the eye of stand-up comedian and Last Leg presenter, Adam Hills, who has helped grow the game on a national scale and recently funded a donation to the Trinity Foundation.
It isn’t just big-name celebrities noticing all the fantastic work going on at Belle Vue, though. In September 2019, the Trinity Community Foundation was nominated for the ‘Super League Foundation of the Year’ award, only to be edged out by Warrington Wolves Foundation.
This well-deserved recognition came through the valued time and effort Trinity has put into securing extra opportunities for both the PD and LDRL sides as well as the commitment they have shown to help schools and communities in the Wakefield region.
However, this new documentary focusses on the three Trinity players who embarked on a trip of a lifetime. Last summer, Connor Lynes, Ben Nicholson and club captain, Darren Dean, teamed up with the Gold Coast legends to face off against the Australian side’s PDRL team at half-time of Titans’ game against Brisbane.
This was the pinnacle of their rugby league lives, but this new programme isn’t just about the sport, it is the story of how three ordinary people with a disability defied the odds and showing that anything is possible.
Much of the documentary lifts the lids on how they fought back adversity to play the sport they love as well as how the Wakefield Trinity Community Foundation has improved their lives and countless others on their road to reaching new heights.
Screening to a global audience has once again put the club and the city of Wakefield in the spotlight, which will hopefully draw people in on the fantastic work the Foundation does for its communities.
Speaking just before the premiere of the documentary, Trinity’s Head of Foundation, Craig Shepherd, insists that reaching a local audience over the past few years has been a struggle and believes this is exactly the exposure needed going forward.
“Publicity is something we have struggled with over the past few years and this isn’t just happening on a national or global scale, but locally,” he explained.
“As we started getting hold of that, we started getting some recognition both locally and regionally, to the point where we were nominated for the Super League Foundation of the year in 2019.
“To be part of something like this and to be recognised globally, is really important. Gold Coast Titans are also excited about the reveal of this documentary as it shows their club in a positive light, which is a by-product of all the hard work that has gone into this project. We are forever grateful for the part Titans Community Foundation played in ensuring dreams came true over the pond.
“Adjacent to this, it also puts Wakefield Trinity as a club in the spotlight and gets them a bit of global acknowledgement as well. A lot of good people worked really hard to raise funds to provide this opportunity and without them it never would have happened.
“So when you couple all that in and you have a documentary going live to millions of people, it is only going to benefit us and the sport of Rugby League in the best possible way.”
With the project backed by Fulwell 73 Productions, partnered with Late Late Show host James Corden, all the funds created by the documentary will be re-invested straight back into the Foundation, so projects like this can carry on being deployed throughout 2021.
Shepherd, who took the role of Head of Foundation in 2017, urges the wider audience to watch the documentary to get a taste of how the Foundation helps the communities they serve, getting a flavour of how they support individuals to change their lives for the better.
“It is a great insight into the lives of some of our participants”, Shepherd explained.
“We support over 24,000 participants per annum through our projects, a lot of them being the younger generation and mostly through rugby league oriented activities.
“Within the 23-minute documentary, the viewers get the opportunity to meet just three of our participants, who happen to be physically disabled and absolutely love rugby league.
“As a Foundation, we are trying to level the playing field and it will provide awareness of the challenges posed, hopefully providing some comfort in the process to on-watchers who may wish to join our provision or that of other clubs.
“It might give some people the opportunity, who didn’t know we existed, to give physical disability rugby league a go and if we can achieve that, it would be a massive success.”