Edinburgh will welcome more than 1500 Ukrainian refugees to this month’s 1872 Cup decider against Glasgow at BT Murrayfield.
The gesture comes as part of working partnerships with the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council.
The tickets for the match on December 30 were offered to Ukrainian refugees based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with displaced families currently living on cruise ships MS Victoria and MS Ambition, docked in Leith and on the Clyde.
“The 1872 Cup is a world-famous fixture in the rugby calendar so it brings me great pride that we’ve been able to work with Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council to bring over 1500 Ukrainian refugees – most of whom will be attending their first rugby match – to BT Murrayfield for the deciding leg of the derby,” said Ruaridh Pye, Edinburgh Rugby’s community manager and the City of Edinburgh Council’s development officer.
“This is incredibly important for Edinburgh Rugby as a club – one of our main strategic pillars is to continually engage with the local community, so to offer these displaced Ukrainian families the opportunity to get away for a night of fun at the rugby where they don’t have to worry about the anxieties and troubles of life back home really does mean the world to us.”
John Hawryluk is the Ukraine crisis response project coordinator for Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council, where he and his team have been working to ensure displaced Ukrainian families get the opportunity to integrate into Scottish culture.
“Since February, Edinburgh has welcomed over 10,000 Ukrainians who have been displaced via the war in Ukraine,” he said.
“People have come from all corners of Ukraine to seek safe refuge here in Scotland and are being accommodated across a range of hosted accommodation, in hotels and on two boats situated in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“Over the last few months, we have seen an incredible response from Edinburgh’s cultural, sporting and tourism sectors throwing open their doors to the community.
“Activities like the upcoming 1872 Cup help us to support the community to reduce social isolation and longer-term integration in communities across Scotland.”
Hannah Beaton-Hawryluk, chairperson of the Edinburgh branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, added: “The festive period is a time for families to be together, however for many Ukrainians this isn’t possible due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“We hope that a day out at BT Murrayfield will provide some much-needed joy for the community between Christmas and New Year.”