During this summer’s 10-match tour of South Africa, Brian O’Driscoll created many long-lasting memories for thousands of Lions fans.
And now, more than a month on from the end of an unforgettable tour, the 30-year-old Irishman, and HSBC ambassador, is ensuring he leaves behind a more permanent legacy in South Africa.
O’Driscoll was one of four Lions players who took time out of their schedule early in the tour to join the Lions’ principal partner HSBC for a special pitch opening at Masibambane College in Johannesburg.
Touched by the attitudes of the 800 children he visited that day, and the story of HSBC’s new sports pitch which has been built for the whole township community, O’Driscoll decided to donate his Lions kit to children at the school.
“To see all these kids and the reception they’ve given us all is incredible,” said O’Driscoll at the time of his visit.
“I’ve spoken to people who were here for three hours before we arrived and they said that the children were singing and dancing the whole time. It’s amazing to see a group of children who are so under-privileged and yet so happy and well behaved – it’s incredible and certainly very humbling.”
It was the unforgettable welcome that O’Driscoll and his fellow Lions received that prompted the Irish centre to want to give something back, and, this week, he did just that.
Staff from HSBC Africa took time out to deliver O’Driscoll’s kit to the students of Masibambane College after the former Lions skipper confirmed that his kit would serve a greater purpose back in South Africa rather than locked in a cupboard or given to family and friends.
Masibambane College have in turn decided to auction the kit and ensure that all proceeds come directly to the school and where they will have an immediate impact on the lives of the students.
During this week’s visit, HSBC staff also took part in a game of TAG rugby on the new multi-purpose pitch opened during the tour.