RWANDAN genocide survivor Eric Murangwa Eugene, MBE, will be speaking at a special event in Kingswood to mark this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

The former Rwandan goalkeeper will be sharing his story at St Mary’s Church, Kingswood on Thursday, January 30, at 7.30pm.

It was Eric’s status as one of Rayon Sports’ best-loved players that saved his life when armed men stormed his home in 1994.

Supposedly looking for weapons, the men threatened to take Eric’s life until they realised he was the well-known player “Toto”.

He then fled to his Hutu teammate’s house, where members of the club sheltered together, and Eric realised the bonds formed through sport could override the hatreds that lead to genocide.

Eric then moved to Britain, where he founded two organisations – Football For Hope, Peace And Unity, which uses sport to promote tolerance and reconciliation among Rwandan youth, and Survivors Tribune, an educational initiative where those who survived the genocide go to UK schools to talk to students about their experiences.

Bob Copeland, a member of St Mary’s Church council said: “Eric and most of his immediate family survived the Rwandan genocide in part thanks to the courage and humanity shown by his teammates.

"As a result he became convinced that sport and storytelling have the power to influence society in a way that little else does.

"Every year Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity to remind us where hatred, prejudice, and racism can ultimately lead."

Everyone is welcome at the meeting.

Refreshments will be served from 7pm.