THE friends and family of a young Newport teacher and rugby player who died from a brain tumour have donated more than £10,000 in his memory.

Tom Groombridge, 29, was getting ready to play a match for Rogerstone RFC in 2011 when he felt unwell and doctors later discovered a tumour at the base of his spine.

The teacher, from High Cross, died in March this year at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, just three weeks after being told the cancer had spread to his brain.

Now donations from a fundraising evening at Rogerstone RFC have flooded in to Velindre and Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff where Mr Groombridge had been cared for.

Rogerstone RFC held a remembrance for Mr Groombridge prior to kick-off against New Panteg on Saturday, March 8, followed by the fundraising memorial night.

Lorraine Donovan, ward manager from Rookwood Hospital, said: “We are aiming to use the donation to upgrade the SPUR room, which is used for patient education and relaxation and to purchase equipment to enhance the patient experience.

“We now have a special trophy in Tom’s memory – the Tom Groombridge Spirit of the Games Cup – which will be presented to anyone who has gone the extra mile.

“Tom was a pleasure to look after – a real gentleman in every way. His death really affected the staff who knew him and we want to make sure his memory lives on here on the spinal unit.”

Mr Groombridge had started working at Abertillery Primary School in September 2011 but had to stop just months later after the discovery of the tumour, which doctors said could have been there since birth.

Mr Groombridge’s friend, Ryan Oliver, who had asked him to be best man at his wedding, said: “Rockwood and Velindre were brilliant with Tom.

“Rookwood gave him his independence back because they taught him how to look after himself and got his strength back up. By the end of his time there, he didn’t want to leave.”