SHOCKED parents of young players at Redruth Rugby Club maxed out their credit cards to pay for an away tournament – after all the money raised for the trip went missing.
The 30-strong mini-junior squad and their families had booked in February this year a weekend trip to Butlin's Minehead rugby festival.
But on arrival at the resort the parents discovered that almost £5,500 raised to pay for accommodation and three coaches had not been paid.
Lorna Colwill, stepmother of one of the seven-year-old boys and the landlady of Portreath Arms Hotel, said: "On arrival parents and the children, all aged between 7 and 10, found out that nothing had been paid so Butlin's had to find rooms for everyone and squeeze them in.
"One of the mums maxed out her credit card and paid a big chunk of the bill and the rest paid whatever they could.
"They clubbed together and saved the day, and without them the children would not have been able to stay.
"Everyone was gutted and could not believe it, we were all shocked.
"The tournament was something the boys had been looking forward to since last year."
It is understood that all the parents have since been paid back from club funds. But to make up for the shortfall, the mini and junior members of the team embarked on a 12-mile sponsored bike ride to help make up the cash.
They also organised a barbecue outside the Portreath Arms Hotel, raising about £800, with all the food donated free of charge thanks to the owner of Tregurra Chip Stop in Truro.
One of the juniors did a sponsored head shave, pulling in an additional £450.
David Wills, of Redruth Rugby Club Mini Juniors, confirmed the section had lost nearly £6,000, adding: "Thankfully, half a dozen parents saved the day."
Camborne police have confirmed that a man has been charged with one count of fraud after allegedly taking £5,500 from the mini and junior section.
Vincent May of Shaft Road, Severn Beach, in Bristol, is due to appear at Truro Magistrates' Court today, August 8.