The British Red Cross has been named as the official charity partner for Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
It is the first time that Britain’s Olympic athletes have had an official charity and the partnership aims to inspire public acts of kindness.
The announcement has been made on the anniversary of the 2011 Japanese earthquake, which caused a tsunami that killed more than 19,000.
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake also triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant, which displaced 470,000 people.
Olympic Games organisers want this summer’s games to send a message about recovery and this inspired Team GB’s charity partnership with the British Red Cross.
Sir Hugh Robertson, chair of the British Olympic Association, said: “Throughout Team GB’s journey to the Tokyo Games, we have sought to show solidarity with Japan and support our friends and colleagues at the Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo Organising Committee as the country continues to rebuild.
“Today’s announcement is recognition of the work the Red Cross did to support a devastated population and is the latest in a number of initiatives to show Team GB’s support for our hosts this summer.”
'We want to encourage the Olympic spirit in all of us'
David Bernstein, chair of the British Red Cross, added: “We believe that connected communities are stronger and more resilient to emergencies. We want our partnership with Team GB to encourage the Olympic spirit in all of us, to get involved and share the power of kindness across the country.”
A Red Cross spokesperson said that a number of plans to involved the public are “in development” but have not been finalised yet.
Athletes Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Andrew Pozzi and Adam Gemili recently visited Fukushima to view the work of the Red Cross.
Johnson-Thompson said: “Some of the people who were directly affected spoke with me and shared some stories. Many of them were children who told me how they had lost their homes, everything they owned, their normal way of life - it was heart-breaking. But to see how the community has come together with the help of the Red Cross shows the power of the human spirit. It really is amazing.
“They said the Red Cross was at the scene as soon as the disaster struck and are still there now, helping people to rebuild their lives so many years later and making a real difference. It was an honour to visit such inspirational children who have such a passion for life and see what a difference the Red Cross makes."