British city declares July 7 Rwanda Friendship Day

The people of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, in the United Kingdom, have declared July 7 Rwanda Friendship Day.
H.E Nkurunziza with children at St Edmunds Cathedral presenting him with an art piece done by them entitled Hands of Friendship to mark the day residents of Bury St. Edmunds, declared ....
H.E Nkurunziza with children at St Edmunds Cathedral presenting him with an art piece done by them entitled Hands of Friendship to mark the day residents of Bury St. Edmunds, declared ....

The people of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, in the United Kingdom, have declared July 7 Rwanda Friendship Day.

The announcement was made by the community’s leadership at a service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, which was attended by the city’s mayor, Councillor Terry Buckle, the Rwanda High Commissioner to the UK, Williams Nkurunziza, among other dignitaries, and nearly 200 area residents and members of the Rwandan community.

The ceremony, which began with a church service in the 17th century cathedral, saw Mayor Buckle and Amb. Nkurunziza light a candle of friendship to mark July 7 as ‘Rwanda Friendship Day,’ the same day a year ago that the Rwandan Olympic team first arrived in Bury St Edmunds for their Pre-Games Training Camp.

According to the mayor, the dedication of this day is intended to ensure that the community builds ‘a lasting legacy of friendship’ from their first interaction with the Rwandan athletics’ team.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nkurunziza thanked the leadership of Bury St. Edmunds for their solidarity and faith in Rwanda.

"Our athletes came here to compete in sports, but won a special place in your hearts. By declaring July 7 the Rwanda Friendship Day, the people of St Edmunds demonstrate a deep desire to build an enduring friendship between your community and our country. We share this desire and commend you for taking the first, firm step in this journey,” he said. 

The guests also heard how the Go Rwanda Group, a charity initiative organised by members of the community, have raised more than Rwfs20 million to support physical education and athletics training in several Rwandan schools.

According to the group organiser, Michelle Banfield-Curran, a team has already been hired to drive it's interventions on the ground.

Amb. Nkurunziza was accompanied by his family and members of the Rwandan community in the UK.

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