This season’s Salford Red Devils Magic Weekend commemorative shirt will unite the cities of Salford and Manchester, almost exactly one year to the day since the tragedy at the Manchester Arena attack claimed the lives of 22 people.
The limited edition charity kit for the game features the iconic bee logo on the chest, with £5 from each purchase going to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
“One year on our community remains very much affected by the events of that night,” said Red Devils’ managing director Ian Laithwaite.
“Many supporters, not just from Salford but from the rugby league family as a whole, know of people caught up in the tragic events and when we sat down to decide who we should support with our Magic Weekend shirt this season, the decision was made in an instant.
“The timing of Magic Weekend on the eve of the anniversary will be a poignant one for families across the north of England, and we are proud to be able to play a small part in the events being held to commemorate those who lost their lives so needlessly.
“Many of our fans, staff, players and partners attend the Arena on a regular basis with their families, or live in Manchester. It is therefore something close to all of our hearts.”
When the Red Devils played the Catalan Dragons a few days after the attack, they raised almost £50k for the Emergency Fund set up in the wake of the bombing for the victims’ families.
Now, as the Devils prepare to take on the Dragons again for the Magic Weekend – Rugby League’s showpiece event in Newcastle – the club has again come out in support of its friends and neighbours across the river.
“Nobody will forget that night as the news began to break,” said club captain Weller Hauraki.
“The emotion of the night when we played the Dragons in the aftermath of the bomb is one that really sticks in the mind. It was an honour to play a small role in the wider community coming together and it will again be a privilege to take a part in remembering those that lost their lives when we run out at St James’ Park in this special jersey almost a year later.”
So far, more than £20m has been raised by the Emergency Fund, with over £16m having already been committed to helping those who suffered in the attack.
“We are unbelievably grateful for the generous donations to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund,” said the fund’s chief operating officer Vicky Rosin.
“The world’s solidarity with our city has been a ray of light in Manchester’s darkest hour. To raise more than £20m is an amazing response. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.
“We have done our very best, with guidance from clinicians, to distribute the money so generously raised by the public, and we continue to look at options for helping as many people as possible from the funds that remain.”