Heriot’s Rugby Club virtual event raises hundreds of pounds for charity

A virtual event organised by Heriot’s Rugby Club players, featuring local band Bleeker, has raised £400 for cancer support charity Maggie’s.

Held earlier this month over Zoom, the event connected Heriot’s Rugby and Blues Men players for a social night during the lockdown period after the cancellation of the club’s annual awards dinner.

The Edinburgh duo behind Bleeker, Lauren Alari and Harris Canning, are familiar faces to Heriot’s Rugby Club players, who have enjoyed many of the band’s performances at Indigo Yard after game day.

Stuart Edwards, stand off for Heriot’s Rugby in the FOSROC Super6, helped organise the event, approaching the band about performing.

‘‘I asked if we could pay for their time and they asked for a donation to Maggie’s, which is a cause close to their hearts,’’ he said.

A link to donate directly to Maggie’s, which has eight centres across Scotland including at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, was distributed among more than 60 players who attended the event.

‘‘We are closely connected to Maggie’s as I fought my own battle with breast cancer eight years ago now,’’ Lauren said.

”It is about giving back to others at this time.”

Bleeker are keeping busy in lockdown, recording their next album, and keeping fans entertained by posting videos of performances on social media.

‘‘We have had a few virtual gigs, but it has been really hard. We are obviously out of work for the next few months,’’ Lauren said.

‘‘We will get through this, what matters is we are fit and healthy.’’

During the Zoom dinner Bleeker covered crowd favourites such as Wagon Wheel, American Pie and Caledonia.

Socialising through weekly Zoom events has been beneficial for the Heriot’s Rugby Club playing group, according to Stuart.

‘‘We spend pretty much every weekend with each other, we are a very social group,’’ he said.

‘‘It is good to keep in touch. All our lives have revolved around rugby in one way or another. It is great to continue that interaction.’’

Bleeker hopes to be back down at familiar venues performing for fans in the near future but emphasised the importance of following lockdown guidelines.

‘‘We want everybody to be responsible and safe. We want to see everyone healthy, in the crowd at a gig soon,’’ Harris said.

Caption: Heriot’s Rugby Club Blues Men players Dom and Stephen Martin, dressed up for their night in, attending the virtual dinner.

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