Ivan Toney: Brentford striker sets up St Vincent volcano relief fundraiser

Brentford striker Ivan Toney on the St Vincent volcano crisis: "An eruption is never a good thing wherever it is. But for it to be somewhere so close to my heart, and where I'm in a position to help out and do what I can, it's only right that I do that"

Ivan Toney (Brentford) 1:39
Brentford striker Ivan Toney has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help those affected by the La Soufriere volcano eruption on the Caribbean island of St Vincent

Ivan Toney says the St Vincent volcano left him in "shock" and has set up a relief fundraiser, with the Brentford striker making a significant contribution and vowing to donate an extra £1,000 for every goal he scores from now until the end of the season.

Clean water supplies are running short in St Vincent - where Brentford striker Toney's grandparents were born and where some of his friends and family still live - after ash from a volcanic eruption contaminated reservoirs.

The blast from La Soufriere volcano rocked the eastern Caribbean island last week and up to 20,000 people had to be evacuated from the island's northern region in the shadow of La Soufriere, with 3,000 more forced to move to 80 government shelters.

The humanitarian crisis has hit 25-year-old Toney hard, who has vowed to use the power and reach of his voice to help out as much as he can, setting up a page on GoFundMe titled Ivan Toney's St Vincent Volcano Relief Fund on Friday.

"It was shock," Toney, who has raised over £15,000 so far and has set a target of £50,000, told Sky Sports.

"Knowing that I have family and friends over there, it was a case of checking up on them as quick as you can. See if they are fine and see how things are.

"An eruption is never a good thing wherever it is. But for it to be somewhere so close to my heart, and where I'm in a position to help out and do what I can, it's only right that I do that.

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"It's so close [to me] because my grandparents were from there. Born and raised there. They're no longer with us in this moment but if they were here today, they would be doing so much to help.

"I feel it's only right for me to carry the surname with pride and do what I can to help. Over 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. That is never a nice thing.

"You have to leave your home, and go to a temporary shelter. The shelters are not the best, there are no water supplies at the moment and food is very limited. I want to make everyone aware of this situation in St Vincent at the moment.

"Every goal I score from now until the end of the season, I'll donate an extra £1,000 to the GoFundMe."

Falling ash and pyroclastic flows (fast-moving lava, ash and hot gases) have destroyed crops and contaminated water reservoirs on the island.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told local NBC Radio he thought the country would need "hundreds of millions of dollars" to recover from the eruption.

Adam Billing, a retired police officer who lived and tended to his crops on land near the volcano, said he had more than three acres of plantains, tannias, yams and a variety of fruits, and estimates he lost more than $9,000 (£6,600) worth of crops.

Toney added: "I've set up a GoFundMe page, and the link can be found on my Instagram and it's on my Twitter page as well.

Ivan Toney
Image: Toney wants to get out to St Vincent as quickly as he can, once Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted and once it is safe to travel there after the volcano crisis

"I've trying to raise funds to send over there, and clothing, I'm arranging for that to be sent over. I'm doing what I can to help out, and any help would be appreciated.

"The money would be used for things like food and water and trying to make sure people are rehoused. We want to stretch it, really, to anything we can do."

Toney wants to get out to St Vincent as quickly as he can, once coronavirus restrictions have been lifted and once it is safe to travel there after the volcano crisis.

"With coronavirus, it has been tough out there, and with the volcano it's like a double-hit," he said. "I want to go over as soon as possible, 100 per cent. I want to see what the funds are doing."

You can donate to Ivan Toney's St Vincent Volcano Relief Fund via his GoFundMe page.

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