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Rugby match for Spike Aware UK

The charity match organised by Heslington East Rugby and The Last Taboo kicks off today at 19:30

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Image Credit: Reuben Hodson

Heslington East Rugby and The Last Taboo are hosting a charity match in aid of Spike Aware UK on Friday 19 November at the York RI rugby club. In light of the rise in spiking in York and across the UK, the charity match between Hes East Rugby and James Rugby will showcase student solidarity against this problem.

The charity game follows in the wake of other student-led anti-spiking events including the ‘Girls Night In’ campaign which saw students across the UK boycotting nightclubs at the end of October.

Explaining how the match came into being, Heslington East RFC’s President, Morgan Willetts, said “as a club, we wanted to go further than the recent ‘York Big Night In’ boycott and that’s why we partnered with The Last Taboo, who have been instrumental in helping to organise this great event. We are supporting Spike Aware UK and are delighted that the charity founders, Colin and Mandy will be joining us for the evening.”

The event is set to be a vibrant one, with music and plenty of food. All the proceeds from which will all be going directly to Spike Aware UK. Morgan said, “we’re delighted to be supported by many different local businesses, not least York RI RUFC in putting on this fantastic evening. There will be donation buckets available and a JustGiving link and we are encouraging everyone to make a small donation to this amazing cause.”

The president for James College Rugby, Harry Cullens, also expressed his enthusiasm for the event and said “JCRUFC fully supports the message and work of Spike Aware UK. Everyone should feel safe on a night out. We fully back the work done so far by nightclubs and bars against spiking, however, there is so much to be done.”

This project that the game is set to raise funds for was started by Greg Mackie’s parents, an 18-year-old student and promising sportsman who died after a suspected spiking incident at his college accommodation in Edinburgh. He was working on an anti-drugs campaign at the time of his death.

Spike Aware UK aims to educate youngsters on the effects of spiking and provide them with anti-spiking kits. Commenting on the cause, Beth Wigham, Press and Publicity Officer for The Last Taboo York, said that “spiking is an issue that affects everyone- regardless of their age, gender, or social circle. This is one of the main reasons that we are really pleased to be working with Hes East RFC to tackle the spiking epidemic that’s alarming all students.”

“We want to make it clear that spiking has no place amongst our student population; whether it’s done with the intention of incapacitating someone, or as a very dangerous ‘joke’- spiking is a crime that can cause serious mental and physical trauma.”

Spiking is not uncommon in York. Police are currently investigating six cases of suspected drink spiking in the city which have happened within the past six weeks.

These figures come after YorkMix recently reported that a woman collapsed on a night out in York after a suspected spiking.

Students can show their opposition to spiking by going along to the game at York RI Rugby Club on the 19 of November. Kelly Balmer Community and Wellbeing Officer stated: “Alongside the Spiking Awareness campaign, we came out in solidarity with those boycotting clubs as part of the Big Night In Boycott.

“We are currently lobbying the North Yorkshire, Fire, Police and Crime Commissioner candidates via an open letter, to ensure that young people’s concerns are heard.”

A University of York spokesman said: “Our students’ safety is fundamental and we have taken action, together with partners in the City, to address the concerns raised.

“If a student has experienced drink spiking on campus they can seek help from Security by calling 3333 or using the SafeZone app. If they are off campus they should call the emergency services on 999. “Students can also report an incident to us through our Report and Support system.”

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