Monday 26 September 2016

Wales fans make it to Euro 2016 despite losing roof of campervan in bridge crash

Published 12/06/2016 | 20:41

Wales fans celebrate victory in Bordeaux
Wales fans celebrate victory in Bordeaux

A group of Wales fans nearly had their Euro 2016 dreams dashed when one of their group crashed their campervan into a low bridge.

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The fivesome were travelling from Blaenau Ffestiniog and had meticulously planned their Euro 2016 adventure well before Chris Coleman's side had qualified.

But the road to Rouen swiftly turned into the road to ruin after driver Michael Pugh sheared off half the roof of the van, leaving the group without the means of getting to Wales' Group B matches and nowhere to stay when they got there.

The 25-year-old fireman said: "The police came and took us to an Esso garage where we had to spend the night - there was a lovely panoramic view from the van, but it wasn't ideal.

"There were no signs, no barriers, nothing suggesting it was a low bridge. I just followed the sat nav, came up to the tunnel and I headed down and clipped the top - about half a foot - and just peeled back.

"Everyone just panicked. I hit the brakes and it was just a case of 'What just happened'?"

The group had left their home town in north Wales at around 4am on Thursday and was forced to leave the majority of their belongings in the van in Rouen after the accident on Thursday evening.

On Friday, the group took a train to Paris and then down to Bordeaux in time for their Group B game against Slovakia and are planning on taking to the rails for their remaining games against England in Lens and Russia in Toulouse.

The group made it to south-west France in time to see Wales's first major tournament game for 58 years, which they won 2-1 against Slovakia.

Mr Pugh said: "It was just incredible. We got a picture with John Hartson after one of us pointed out where the nearest place to change money was, so that was amazing too."

Another of the group, 25-year-old Calvin McQuilling, said: "Seeing Wales win has made up for everything really.

"We're just going to keep on going day by day."

A GoFundMe page was set up to help the stranded group by Mr Pugh's sister which has already raised £835.

Mr McQuilling said: "We've got to say a huge thank you to people from our little town for helping us out.

:: The GoFundMe page can be found here https://www.gofundme.com/28rfr3w

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