Gary Lineker shares thank you letter after housing refugee

Gary Lineker has spoken of his “hugely positive experience” after welcoming a refugee into his Surrey home.

The Match Of The Day host, 59, recently revealed he had been in touch with the charity Refugees At Home about hosting a displaced person.

The former footballer, who is father to four sons, shared the contents of a handwritten letter his guest had subsequently left him, dated October 18.

He told his 7.7 million Twitter followers: “This letter alone made it worthwhile. Thanks Rasheed for giving such a different perspective on life to both myself and my boys.

“Thanks too to @RefugeesAtHome for helping to make this happen. It was a hugely positive experience and I will definitely host again.”

He shared an image of the letter without revealing the refugee’s full name.

It said: “When I was moving to your home, I was worried you might be unfriendly and conservative but it was all reverse what I thought.

“During my stay at your beautiful home, I never felt that I am a stranger or guest but it seemed to be as if I am a member of your family.

“I can never forget your hospitality, love and company that you and your lovely respectful children gave to me.

“There is a saying in the Baluchi language that if you give me a glass of water, I owe you in my entire life. In fact, you did more.”

In recent months the Home Office has come under scrutiny over the numbers of migrants crossing the Channel to reach the UK.

Lineker has been critical of the Government’s response, describing it as “heartless and completely without empathy”.

He also addressed having a refugee to stay during the GQ Heroes 2020 event with the magazine’s editor-in-chief Dylan Jones.

Speaking about the type of criticism he had historically received, he said: “The strange argument was, ‘Why don’t you have them in your house, then?’.

“Having had that constantly thrown at me for years, I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I?’

“My kids are all grown up now, they’re all in their 20s.”

He added: “It’s been fascinating and a real education for my boys as well.

“Because obviously they’re privileged – they know they’re privileged – but then to hear this guy’s story…

“And he was brilliant with them. I’ll definitely do it again.”

Speaking about the issues more widely, he added: “It’s not that I’ve lambasted the Government’s policy, although I think in recent times it’s been quite worrying some of the soundbites we’ve heard from the Home Office.

“The refugee crisis is a humanitarian issue that the whole world has to deal with.

“Obviously we can’t have everyone in here, we know that, but we need to have our fair share.”

During the interview, which took place before the BBC introduced new social media and impartiality rules for its employees on Thursday, Lineker addressed the issue at the broadcaster.

“I think most of us are cautious,” he said.

“I know people don’t necessarily think I am, but I very much am. I think the BBC has always respected that fact.

“I’ve never, for example, told anyone who to vote for, or who I voted for any election.

“The only political things I did were probably around the Brexit thing, which seemed like a different thing to which party you supported necessarily.”

Watch the full video on GQ online.