Highlanders to help hospices



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The Highlanders will be showing this year that their caring instincts extend well beyond putting opponents to the sword.

Under an arrangement announced today by the Highlanders chief executive, Russell Gray, the Otago and Southland community hospices have become designated charities for the team during the Rebel Sport Super 14.

‘Highlanders players over the years have involved themselves in many community activities with hospital and hospice visits often being a priority,’ he said, ‘and some players have made visits to these institutions of their own volition.’

This year, however, the Highlanders trust decided to formalise their approach to the many requests players receive from charities.

‘We spent some time looking at how we could best contribute to our community,’ Gray said, ‘and of course the criteria had to be that any organisation we helped would have to be non-profit and benefit people throughout the Highlanders region. It would also have to be of benefit to people of all ages.’

He said the Otago Community Hospice and Hospice Southland fitted perfectly into those criteria and had been determined as designated charities. ‘Terminal illness of a relative or loved one is something that touches most people in some way during their lifetime,’ Gray said. ‘We have been humbled when we have looked at the impact these two organisations have on families at this difficult period of their lives and we’re delighted to do what we can to assist.’

Nicki Kitson, the chief executive of Hospice Southland, said she was looking forward to the association. Her staff and the Highlanders both exhibit skill and determination, she said.

The chief executive of the Otago Community Hospice, Dave Ryan, said the support by the Highlanders demonstrates their appreciation of being able to help people less fortunate than themselves.

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