I have been in discussions with Steve Gibson and Middlesbrough Football Club over recent days regarding this very significant and immensely generous donation of Middlesbrough’s share of the gate receipts from the Chelsea FA cup tie.

This is very much an expression of solidarity with the people of Ukraine who are suffering unbearably because of the inhumane and barbaric actions of Vladimir Putin. 

This considerable donation is very much on behalf of the people of Middlesbrough and Teesside who have always welcomed those fleeing the horrors of war and who have already shown such incredible generosity and kindness to the people of Ukraine and will of course continue to do so.  

Our task now is to ensure that this money is put to the best possible use to help as many innocent Ukrainian people as possible who, through no fault of their own, have had their lives and communities torn apart by this devastating and brutal aggression. 

I will be concluding my discussions with the relevant charities and aid agencies to ensure that this money is directed to where it is needed most as a matter of supreme urgency.

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