Pictures: Hearts and Hibs open doors to feed 200 on Christmas

Volunteers and guests at Hearts' Christmas lunch. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Volunteers and guests at Hearts' Christmas lunch. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Capital rivals Hearts and Hibs helped spread festive cheer on Christmas Day when they opened their doors to feed around 200 people.

• READ MORE: Leader comment: Capital clubs show power of togetherness

Volunteers at Easter Road. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Volunteers at Easter Road. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Children as young as nine days old were welcomed in as the clubs took part in the Evening News Edinburgh Cheer campaign, along with Central Taxis, NHS Lothian and Tesco.

The supermarket provided food for the Christmas meals with volunteers lining up to get involved in the initiative with Hibs having to turn some volunteers away such was the demand.

Guests at Tynecastle and Easter Road were joined by Hearts’ principal ambassador Gary Locke and Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster.

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Heart of Midlothian principal ambassador Gary Locke with volunteers and guests. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Heart of Midlothian principal ambassador Gary Locke with volunteers and guests. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Hibs CEO described the day as “symbolic,” revealing some volunteers actually had to be turned away a few weeks before the event after a huge uptake.

She said: “Today has been a fantastic culmination of the Edinburgh Cheer campaign. We have to thank our partners who have come to support us in all of this. It would not have been possible without their contribution.”

“People coming in on Christmas Day, giving up their own free time, I think it just shows they are great citizens, great people and they want to get involved. We often look for reasons not to do things, but we have actually had to turn volunteers away because the uptake was just so incredible. We have people coming back this year who were here last year as well.

She added: “I think the two clubs coming together like this is really symbolic. It’s three or four hours, but you can see by the number of kids and families who arrived that this is helping to widen people’s social network, help families - some of whom have recently arrived in Edinburgh - to integrate into our wonderful community.

Volunteers and guests at Tynecastle. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Volunteers and guests at Tynecastle. Picture: Ian Rutherford

“If we can just do a little bit of that, it will be a job well done.”

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Jonathan Tink, head of planning and development at Hearts said: “It was so pleasing to walk through the doors in the morning and see all these volunteers who have given up their time on what is a family day for them to come and help those less fortunate than themselves.”

“We have had people here today in their eighties, who rarely get out of the house, right down to children, one of whom was only nine days old. It has just been phenomenal to have such a wide range of ages and demographics.”

Hibs CEO Leeann Dempster meets families at the Christmas lunch. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Hibs CEO Leeann Dempster meets families at the Christmas lunch. Picture: Ian Rutherford

“The collective of all these big players coming together; The Evening News promoting the campaign, Tesco providing the food and the bags and Central Taxis arranging the transport - It has just been fantastic. And of course Hearts and Hibs coming together for this particular great cause to help out their communities.