A REFUGEE football side will take on teams from Swindon schools and Wiltshire Police in a tournament next week.

And players and members of the public will get a chance to test their scoring skills against former Rwanda international goalkeeper Eric Murangwa, an ethnic Tutsi whose life was saved by his Hutu teammates during the genocide of 1994.

The football tournament has been organised by Royal Wootton Bassett Academy teaching assistant Theresa Bickell, marking national Refugee Week.

She said: “We have a real mix of different people and teams from different places. It’s about coming together and having fun.

“Like sport, it doesn’t matter what religion or race you are. Sport doesn’t recognise race or ethnicity.”

The event will see a team from Swindon charity the Harbour Project, which supports refugees and asylum seekers in the town, as well as sides from RWB Academy and Lawn Manor Academy.

Theresa said the idea had stemmed from a schools event run by Swindon group City of Sanctuary, where volunteer Cristina Bennet had spoken about the importance of children learning together and celebrating diversity. “I thought, ‘That’s sport’. Joining together and working as a team,” she said.

“I play rugby. In my team we have people who are gay, people from different continents, people from the army. It’s an extremely diverse group of ladies and it’s all about having a common interest.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the Football Welcomes tournament on Tuesday, June 18, 3.30pm to 6.30pm, at RWB Academy. Refreshments and sports massages will be available, with money raised going to the Harbour Project.