IT HAS been a trying time for many West Fife families this year but Dunfermline Rugby Club are aiming to provide some festive cheer this year.

They may not be scrummaging down as normal on the pitch because of the COVID-19 pandemic but players with the McKane Park club are coming together to collect donations for two worthwhile charities to help those in need.

Working together with Home Start Dunfermline, they are collecting Christmas toys and gifts for kids aged up to five who may otherwise not receive a present, as well as food donations for Dunfermline Foodbank.

Senior player Neil Harris has been co-ordinating the charity drive with Stuart Dern and said that Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals during the holidays south of the border had helped them come up with the plan.

“It got a few of us thinking that we could probably do a wee bit more round about our community with the rugby club,” he explained. “We just came up with the idea of why don’t we try gifts for kids for Christmas? There’s a lot of kids in the area who, for one reason or another, won’t get as much as others.

“Through my work, I managed to get hold of a contact at Home Start Dunfermline, who were more than happy for us to get involved with them and do a collection on their behalf. They work closely with Dunfermline Foodbank.

“There’s a lot of us at the club who are in a more fortunate position than others and if we can help folk, I think that’s what the rugby club should be all about. We should be doing our bit for the community.”

Neil added: “People turn up for training but there’s no end goal as a result because of the pandemic. We can train under certain restrictions, which is fine, it gives folk a run about, keeps fitness levels up and keeps folk together. There’s no games that they’re able to train for so this might give some folk a bit of a focus, and certainly up to Christmas time anyway you focus on getting bits and bobs together to give out to people who wouldn’t get them otherwise.”

Donations can be made to the club on Monday and Thursday evenings, between 6-8pm, and between 10am-12pm on a Sunday. Anyone wishing to donate but who can’t make it to McKane Park can get in touch with the club, who can offer to collect items if necessary.

Meanwhile, Scottish Rugby have announced that the 2020-21 season has been shut down at all levels of the club and school game due to the pandemic. Teams had seen the season delayed previously until January 2021, however, this timescale has now been extended to the end of the regular season, which is spring 2021.