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Hibernian FC: how Scottish football charity rescued 50 Ukrainian orphans

Children arrive in UK today after evacuation organised by fans’ group

Fifty orphans from Ukraine are due to arrive in the UK today after supporters of a Scottish football club led the effort to evacuate them.

The youngsters, aged between two and 19, will fly with their carers to London, before making their way to Scotland later in the week, reported Sky News.

“The orphans were initially transported to Lviv in western Ukraine before crossing the border into Poland, where they have been staying in accommodation in Znin,” said Scotland’s STV News.

Steven Carr, chair of the Edinburgh-based charity Dnipro Kids which was set up by supporters of one of the city’s football clubs, Hibernian, flew to Ukraine several weeks ago to oversee the evacuation of the children to Poland. There, they have been staying in a hotel, supported by local refugee organisations.

“We’ve known these children and their carers for many years, and when they said they wanted to get out we were determined to help,” Carr said.

He added that the charity was “just thankful and relieved that we are getting the kids to the safety of the UK and to Scotland, at last”.

The children will spend a day sightseeing in London, before departing for Scotland on Wednesday. Once they arrive in Edinburgh, they will enjoy a welcome meal at Hibernian’s Easter Road stadium before heading to Stirlingshire.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who has raised the plight of the orphans in the Commons, said this was an “extraordinary and uplifting story”.

Blackford, a Hibernian (Hibs) fan, said: “This has been a source of great pride and I was delighted and privileged to help the charity’s hard work.” He added that the children “will head to Scotland where I know they will be enveloped in warmth and welcome”.

The charity was formed in 2005, when a group of Hibs fans travelled to Dnipro for a UEFA Cup match and organised a collection for local orphans, noted The Guardian. Within 12 months, Dnipro Kids had been officially launched back in Edinburgh, raising £16,000 in donations from supporters.

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