Rugby legends, including Gavin Hastings and Greig Laidlaw, score £20k for The Yard centre for disabled children

A group of Scottish rugby legends, including Gavin Hastings and Greig Laidlaw, have raised £20,000 for The Yard play centre for disabled children.

Grange Edinburgh teams up with Gavin Hastings to score £20,000 at auction for The Yard.
PIC: Lesley Martin
Grange Edinburgh teams up with Gavin Hastings to score £20,000 at auction for The Yard. PIC: Lesley Martin

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Children's charity The Yard says the cash boost will make a massive difference to the centre in the Capital’s Eyre Place, which offers an indoor and outdoor play area where disabled children and young people can play and socialise.

The centre, which has been open since 1986, has a sensory room, bike track and arts and crafts area. Children and young people are welcome to bring friends and family to the centre, offering them a chance to join in or take the opportunity to rest and relax.

Roddy McAllister, whose 10 year-old son Finlay has been attending The Yard since 2016, asked for a donation of £1,000 each for 20 British & Irish Lions shirts at a rugby event.

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The shirts, signed by legends including Gavin Hastings, Sir Gareth Edwards, Martin Johnson, Lee Mears, Greig Laidlaw, Jason Robinson and Sean O’Brien, were auctioned off netting a total of £20,000.

Since its opening in Edinburgh 30 years ago the Yard has expanded and a centre in Dundee was opened in 2015, followed by one in Fife a year later.

Every Sunday the centre opens its doors to the public for Sunday Funday, during which non-disabled children and young people are invited to attend as well.

The centre works with around 1000 disabled children a year, many of whom have complex and multiple needs. It also runs play groups throughout the week with an emphasis on inclusive and creative play.

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Workers say it gives disabled children the chance to engage in "risky play", allowing them to develop, learn, meet other children and find their own limits.

Roddy, Dealer Principal at Grange Motors (Aston Martin Edinburgh & Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Edinburgh) said, “We held an event in our Rolls-Royce showroom to celebrate the British and Irish Lions game against Japan at Murrayfield. We had loads of rugby legends at the event including Martin Johnson, Jason Robinson, Gavin Hastings and Sir Gareth Edwards. We decided to buy a load of British Lions rugby shirts, get them signed by all the rugby legends who attended and auctioned them on the evening.

"We didn’t expect to raise £20,000 and, when each of the winners stepped forward to collect their shirts, I got a little emotional as the charity really helps my son and our family. This is why I wanted to give something back to The Yard. We are looking to keep supporting the charity as I know how much the charity does for kids and their families.”

Jenny MacDonald, Director of Development, The Yard, added, “We are extremely grateful to Roddy and the team at Grange Motors for their continuing support of The Yard. We would like to thank everyone who signed shirts and attended the event to help raise this fantastic fundraising total. It will make a huge difference for our families at The Yard by supporting our vital services at a time when disabled children and young people, and their families, need us more than ever.”

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