He enjoyed a stellar playing career, but former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas has told Prince Harry he wants his ‘everlasting legacy’ to be greater awareness of HIV.
The 45-year-old – who revealed that he has the virus this year – makes the comments in a film to mark World Aids Day.
He tells the Duke of Sussex: ‘I always felt that my life was to play rugby and to represent Wales which I did with all the passion I have, but I actually feel that my rugby gave me the platform to do what I’m doing now.’
45-year-old Gareth Thomas, who has the Aids virus, is pictured with Prince Harry earlier this month. Thomas has told the prince that he wants his legacy to be creating greater awareness of the disease. ‘This journey of education and breaking stigma around HIV is something that will have a legacy everlasting,’ he reportedly told the prince
This image from earlier this month shows former Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas opening up in his first studio interview about coming out as HIV positive
A file photo from 2004 shows Prince Harry hugging a four-year-old Aids orphan in Lesotho, following in the footsteps of his mother, Diana. Harry told Thomas: ‘what you’ve managed to do in just the space of six or eight weeks has been transformational – genuinely transformational’
Thomas, who represented his country 100 times, said his trophies ‘will gather dust and… be forgotten about’, but hopes ‘this journey of education and breaking stigma around HIV is something that will have a legacy everlasting’.
The Prince, whose work with Aids charities follows in the footsteps of his mother Diana, tells the rugby player that ‘what you’ve managed to do in just the space of six or eight weeks has been transformational – genuinely transformational.
‘All I can do is thank you for the difference that you’ve made, the lives that you’re saving on a daily basis now and you’ll have every single one of us backing you the whole way.’ Harry is a patron of the Rugby Football Union.
The film, released by the Terrence Higgins Trust and National AIDS Trust, comes as research shows almost three quarters of British adults are aware of the ex-rugby star talking about HIV with 11 per cent saying it has improved their knowledge of the virus.