Essential food supplies, paid for by the supporters of Leicester Tigers and the wider rugby community, have been delivered to the people of Tonga.
Tigers’ Tonga international wing Hosea Saumaki opened an online appeal to help families affected by the tsunamis earlier this year and raised more than £17,000 in donations.
He said at that time: "As heart breaking as it has been to see the news and feeling hopeless not being able to contact family and just being present to support my people, I remain hopeful in God’s faith and love for my country and pray that we will be get through this together.
"I've created a Go Funding page to contribute just a tiny bit towards urgent care and aid much needed in Tonga. Your support would be gratefully appreciated. However big or small everything counts!"
Media outlet Matangi Tonga reported that Saumaki’s appeal had started making deliveries last week with items including flour, rice, cooking oil, noodles and eggs as well as small gas cookers.
Hosea's brother, Sione, said they started distributing the first packages to more than 50 families in Sopu and Patangata on Thursday and continued to families from Siesia, ‘Atata and Mango in Ha’apai.
*An online rugby quiz in aid of British Red Cross fundraising for Tonga is being staged next Wednesday (March 9 at 7.30pm) with hosts Ugo Monye and Scott Quinnell.
Hosted at the Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham, the event will be broadcast live on the fundraising platform Tiltify, with online donations to the cause.
The online ‘Scrumdown Rugby Quiz’ is being billed as a showdown between Premiership clubs with entry open to supporters of all clubs and prizes including 2023 Six Nations tickets as well as raising important funds for the Tonga appeal.