Oliver Payne – running to support his rugby-playing brother Joe, now stricken by M.E.

June 28, 2021


Rugby player Joe Payne got in touch to tell us about his younger brother Oliver, who is out pounding the streets every day for 100 days to raise money for the ME Association.

Inevitably, Joe’s own state of health quickly came up.  Joe (28), who played in a thrilling rugby cup final at Twickenham in 2019, was injured in November the same year while playing for his club, Gloucester-based Matson RFC.

“I got kicked and it broke my hand. I was out with the lads for a few drinks the same night and didn’t think much of it. But in December I was put under anaesthetic because I was persuaded that I needed an operation and I’ve never been the same since”, said Joe.

Joe Payne – and pictured in the 2019 Twickenham Cup Final in the No 18 shirt

“My whole life has been turned upside down. Going for that operation was the worst decision I ever made”. 

Joe Payne

Joe, who has since been diagnosed with M.E, said: “Some days I can’t even get out of bed.  I’ve not really had one day since then when I’ve felt well. 

“I used to train seven days a week, twice a day, ­mainly weight-training or rugby. I can’t do anything like that now and my whole social life has gone down the drain. 

“You wouldn’t be able to print what I think of the NHS. They tried to palm me off by saying I was depressed,” said Joe, whose M.E. was diagnosed by a private holistic doctor. 

Ollie Payne pounding the streets and raising funds

Thankfully, he can rely on the support of his family and his girlfriend, Kirsty. “They are there for me 24/7 – just a phone call away if I need them – and there’s Ollie, who has just started this tough challenge to raise money for the charity.”

Oliver (24), who works as a plasterer, is another sportsman. He enjoys amateur boxing and for the past couple of weeks has been running 5k a day every day round the streets of Gloucester to raise awareness of M.E. He will keep this up for a total of 100 days.

Oliver has put up a page on Go Fund Me where he says that the illness “has put a massive strain on my brother’s life. So many people are unaware of the condition and the implications it has.  Every day is a struggle for someone with M.E.” 

Joe says that Twickenham cup final was one of the proudest days of his life. He wore the No 18 shirt as Matson played Kenilworth in the Rugby Football Union Intermediate Cup Final. Kenilworth won 32-26 but the result could have gone either way right up to the final whistle. It was club rugby at its best.

Tony Britton, Fundraising and PR Manager, ME Association

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