KIND-HEARTED Andy Murray has received a special philanthropic award for donating more than £500,000 of prize money to help Ukrainian war victims.
The Scot, 35, donated his tennis winnings this year to the UNICEF children’s emergency charity after being horrified by TV videos of Russia’s invasion of their Eastern European neighbours.
Tennis legend Andy Murray has been awarded for his marvellous charity workAP
The ATP, the governing body of men’s tennis, have recognised his generous efforts by giving him the prestigious Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for the second time in his career.
Murray said: “When all the images on the news showing what was happening to families began pouring in, it was devastating.
“Houses were bombed and families were displaced. Young children were affected by this, with many injured and in some cases dying. I wasn’t sure what I could do to help.
“Shortly after I decided that from Indian Wells onwards, I would donate my prize money for the rest of the season to UNICEF’s humanitarian response – the final total was just over £510,000 ($630,000).
“It seemed like something that would give me some extra motivation this year.
“I thought I could also raise some awareness and hopefully get others involved in helping, too.”
The Arthur Ashe accolade – named after the pioneering black American tennis star – was first handed to father-of-four Murray in 2014 and acknowledges extraordinary endeavours in the sport outside of the tramlines.
World No49 Murray – who won 26 of his 45 matches this year on Tour – says he first started actively fundraising a decade ago when one of his best friends Ross Hutchins was diagnosed with cancer.
Cash provided by Murray’s tournaments displays has gone towards providing urgent medical supplies and early childhood development kits for those displaced by the war.
The two-time Wimbledon champion said: “There are 7.5million children in Ukraine and after more than nine months of increased conflict, 5.2million of them are in need of assistance.
“UNICEF is working around the clock to keep children safe by ensuring child health and protection services are sustained, critical supplies are delivered to families and that children have clean water and nutritious food.
“When you see images of children on the news who were impacted by things like this, it makes it even more difficult to stomach.
Andy Murray has donated all of his year’s earnings to victims of the war in UkraineGetty
“I have four young children who are really fortunate that everything is fine with them. But being a parent, it affects you differently.
“You try to put yourself in their shoes. If something like that happened with your own family, how difficult would that be? It is hard to fathom.
“I’m in the fortunate position to try to make some sort of difference, so hopefully the money that’s been raised through UNICEF can help some of the children who have been affected.
“I think in situations like these it is important to be empathetic and do what you can to help others.
Andy Murray has amassed a total of just over £510,000 for his causeGetty
“When I was younger, in my early 20s, I didn’t really think about anything else except my tennis.
“As you start to get older and maybe mature a little bit, you realise there are things that are more important than sport.”
Tatyana Fannouch, a programme specialist in Ukraine, said: “UNICEF has provided a lot of medical supplies and services here for children, including those who had to flee their homes to stay safe and well.
“We’ve reached vulnerable families in hard to reach areas with life-saving supplies and protection services.
“For all this support that you provided for the children of Ukraine, thank you Andy.”