Bullying can’t be tolerated in any way, shape or form – and the Riccarton Knights are throwing their weight behind the crusade to stop bullying and spread kindness.

Pink Shirt Day is celebrated annually around the world after starting out in Canada in 2007, and New Zealand’s is this Friday, May 18.

The Knights are going the extra mile to promote the anti-bullying message and mental health and wellbeing.

Last weekend the club got the ball rolling with their 14s, 16s, Canterbury Cup and men’s premiers teams all wearing pink socks in their respective games. The Knights Presidents team will don the pink socks on Saturday, while their juniors sides are set to hit the field with pink strapping tape around their wrists.

And that’s just for starters.

The key event of the weekend is the ‘Pink Knight Out’ junior disco and awards night, which will be held from 6pm-8.30pm on Saturday at ‘The Castle’, Riccarton Knights’ clubrooms at Crosbie Park. There will be awesome music, dancing, food and prizes, culminating in a small awards ceremony to acknowledge some very special Knights – and make sure you wear pink!

The party continues for the older set with an 18+ disco from 9pm-11pm. But the Knights’ commitment to rub out bullying in the rugby league community and beyond is at the forefront of the fun.

“As a club we believe the anti-bullying message is really important for our entire community, but especially within sport where the line can be crossed from banter to unacceptable abuse,” Knights club volunteer Renee Barclay says.

“We would like people to think twice before they speak – words can have a powerful effect. We’re sure children, coaches, players and referees appreciate encouragement rather than put-downs, and it would be great to see our rugby league community breaking stigmas by lifting up and supporting our wider community.

“We would love to see rugby league in Canterbury making a positive impact and see more people keen to join our code.”

Also look out for Knight volunteers at the junior games at Canterbury Park on Saturday, who will be making pink candy floss for a koha with all proceeds going to the Pink Shirt Day appeal.

From the club’s administration and men’s premiers team right through to the supporters and junior sides, the Riccarton Knights put a community-minded focus above results on the footy field.

The Knights’ principles of acceptance, understanding, equality, respect and inclusiveness underpin their ethos, which is to make a positive difference by leading by example.

“Our club is taking a close look at our own backyard, identifying our strengths and weaknesses and where we can improve and take care of our own Knights whanau,” Barclay explains.

“We want to see both mentally and physically fit and healthy members at our club.

“This is our second year supporting Pink Shirt Day and we are already looking ahead to next year. We are hopeful that other clubs identify this as an important message, too, and link arms with us and join the anti-bullying movement.”

The Knights are also encouraging more volunteers, who Barclay emphasised are absolutely vital to their success, to get involved at the club. To find out more, contact Riccarton Knights Rugby League Club.

Find out more about Pink Shirt Day and how you can get involved HERE.


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