Residents at Trust Housing on Matheson Road, Stornoway, had an extra surprise yesterday evening (Tuesday December 24th) with the arrival of a whole team of Santas ready to deliver Christmas gifts.

Stornoway Rugby Club members, from both the male and female teams, donated gifts to residents, as they explained: “Just because it’s nice to spread a little Christmas cheer.”

The festive visit marked the culmination of a year of increasing off-the-field activity by the club, which has always tried to play an active role in their community.

As well as providing manpower to support events around Stornoway year-round, they donate proceeds from their annual Boxing Day game to a local charity, to be chosen after the match. The game kicks off at 12noon tomorrow Thursday December 26th at Bayhead.

This year, particularly, the club has put huge efforts into supporting mental health charities, inviting groups including the Samaritans, Foyer and Catch 23 to individual games so that they could raise funds and awareness with bucket collections, bake sales and pamphlet distribution.

History was made in August 2019 when Stornoway Rugby Club Ladies took the field at Bayhead for their first ever women’s league match vs Huntly RFC. With such a momentous match Women’s Aid were invited along to help raise funds for their local branch.

Later in the season, on a warm weekend in September dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ the club hosted home fixtures for both the men’s and women’s teams at which a barbeque was organised by Bethesda Hospice as a raise fund-raising opportunity for them.

The club has helped raise awareness in conjunction with the Western Isles Health Board for Suicide Prevention awareness week, with social media posts and posters and by wearing odd-coloured socks carrying the #itsoktotalk campaign message during matches.

A club spokesman told “The club is always striving to improve and grow, with a central aspiration to establish a permanent clubhouse facility that the club can call home.

“Such a large undertaking will obviously take a lot of hard work, planning and money. So, alongside the fund-raising for local charities we have many plans in the pipeline for raising funds for the club

“Keep an eye out for SYRFC members as they shamelessly raise money through bag packing, curry nights, quiz nights and any other method they can think of throughout next year!”

Pictures show teams and supporters banding together to show their support for Samaritans earlier this year, and the cheerful Santa visit to Trust Housing in Stornoway