The Williams family and friends are raising £25,000 to contribute to causes close to Ian Michael Williams' heart, keeping his legacy alive and continuing his impact on the world.

Ian Williams (27) was a talented tight-head prop following his dream of being a professional rugby union player. He collapsed on 20th February 2018 whilst training for English Championship club Doncaster Knights, and, despite the best efforts of his teammates and the emergency response team, he could not be resuscitated.

Known as a gentle giant (unless you happened to be facing him in the pack!) Ian was well respected and liked by all his teammates, and will always be remembered with much affection.

For those who may not have known him, he was very much more than the popular perception of the average prop forward. He was also a talented musician and had a keen interest in literature and history, but there is no doubt that rugby was his passion and his raison d'être.

Starting as a mini at Havant on the south coast, he played in and with a variety of clubs throughout school and into adulthood. His time at university afforded him the opportunity to be one of only two men to have played in BOTH the English and Welsh Varsity matches: playing in three for Swansea University against Cardiff at the Liberty and Millennium stadiums, before continuing his post-graduate studies at Oxford, where he quickly earned his first Dark Blue as part of the legendary pack that annihilated Cambridge in 2013. He went on to score a try in the 2014 43-6 triumph, and helped seal the record number of wins in 2015. He also represented Wales Students on more than one occasion.

His time studying at an end (for now!), he was determined to pursue rugby as a profession, and it was this dream he was realising when he died.

As we - his parents Pippa and Phil, and sister Helen - continue to come to terms with losing him, we continue to be overwhelmed by the love and support from all corners of the globe. It has become clear that to whatever degree people knew/had come across/or simply heard of Ian, he was - and is - recognised as a kind-hearted, driven and generous man. In an address he made on leaving Sherborne School he recognised how lucky he had been to have had not only opportunities but also second chances to pursue his dreams, and advised those younger boys coming up through school behind him to grab such opportunities should they be given them. He always believed in people's potential and in striving for the best, and it was always his intention to use his own successes to facilitate this for others.

We feel it is both fitting, and of some small comfort, to establish something in his name that will not only commemorate his life, but create some sort of lasting legacy that recognises the impact he had on those around him.

We are keen on creating a foundation in Ian's name, but while we go through this process we are working with the Atlas Foundation to develop and test our work under their charitable umbrella. 

It is our hope that Ian's legacy and impact on the world will go on.