A NORTH-EAST badminton club is hoping local businesses will help them serve up opportunities for young players fleeing the violence in Ukraine.

Hummersknott Badminton Club, which meets weekly at Hummersknott Academy, in Darlington, hopes to invite Ukraine refugees with a love of the sport to join its upcoming Mediterranean tour.

Team manager, Philip Boyle, who has run the club since 1974, said: “Hummersknott Badminton Club has always served our community. Just recently, we’ve raised more than £3,500 for local food banks and we’ve planted nearly 1,000 trees in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but now we’re putting our own fundraising on hold to help the international community.

“We’ve toured 42 countries over 25 years to enrich our players and to promote international friendship and unity through sport, and we’re next due to travel to Greece and Cyprus this summer.

“By working with Badminton England and the Ukrainian Badminton Federation, we hope to invite four Ukrainian young players who have been forced to leave their homes to join us on tour, and we’re hoping there might be some local businesses who will pledge their support to help make this happen.”

More than 900 players have come through the club over the years, and Philip always tries to instil a spirit of community service alongside a love of the sport in the young people he manages.

Team captain, Alex Neasham, said: “We’re really hoping we can make this work – it’s not just a game or a holiday, we see it as our diplomatic duty to promote friendship with other countries and their players wherever we go.

“Sport is amazing – it allows you to connect with people regardless of whether or not you can speak the same language.”

Philip added: “Some might say doing this sort of thing doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, that it’s just a drop in the ocean. But, I say, the ocean is just a collection of drops.”

  • Businesses looking for information about how to get involved are asked to email Philip at hummbad@gmail.com