sport has always had the power to bring people together.
The way South Africa’s Rugby World Cup success 20 years ago helped to heal the bitter divisions created by apartheitd was celebrated in the film Invictus. Everyone knows the story of German and British soldiers abandoning their trenches in order to play football during the famous Christmas truce of 1914. And there are many more examples of how sport has provided the means by which people from very different backgrounds can come together and find common ground.
The remarkable story of the way a relatively unremarkable football match in Ukraine spawned a lasting bond between city football fans and some of Europe’s most deprived children belongs in that same tradition. It may not be historically significant like the actions of Nelson Mandela and First World War soldiers but it is inspiring nonetheless.
Who would have imagined the life-changing impact that the visit of a few Scottish football fans would have on the children of Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine? Equally unexpected was the way that the trip also changed the lives of some of the Hibs fans who had set out to do nothing more than support their team on their European adventure.
The enormous generosity not just of the organisers of the Dnipro Kids charity but all those other fans who have continually given the appeal their support deserves wider recognition.
At a time when our continent sometimes seems more divided than it has for many years, it is a welcome reminder of the ties that bind so many of us together. There are so many marriages, friendships, business relationships and so on that connect us with all corners of Europe.
But more than that it shows the capacity that we all have to look beyond superficial differences of language and national identity to connect with other people.