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Zambian trip was great - you can put your shirt on it
KICKABOUTS in some of the poorest parts of rural Africa have been brightened up by the delivery of a bulkload of football shirts direct from Worcester.
When the Lovell family, of St John’s, started planning a trip to Zambia to do volunteer work, son Joe, aged 17, decided to start collecting football shirts to take with him.
After starting his appeal on Facebook , word quickly spread among his friends and tutors at Worcester Sixth Form College and former school Christopher Whitehead Language College.
Joe collected about 350 football kits, as well as balls and various training gear.
The family packed as many as possible into suitcases and headed for some of the poorest settlements in north-western Zambia, where hundreds of children have been orphaned by the prevalence of Aids and HIV.
Joe, an Arsenal fan who played for the Worcester City academy, was stunned by the response. “I thought it might be quite special but the reaction from the children was quite overwhelming,” he said.
“I thought that I used to get excited when I got a kit for a birthday but the delight from them was just unbelievable. It was incredibly rewarding.”
While Joe was busy distributing the kits, sister Meg, 15, delivered more than 350 toothbrushes, bought with a £100 donation from Christopher Whitehead.
She also helped her mother Tina, a consultant in public health, teach basic health education and put measures in place to stop the spread of TB.
Meanwhile father Tim, who works as a TV editor, headed for a remote rural health clinic where he shot a promotional video aimed at generating the funds desperately needed to buy an ambulance.
It was Mr Lovell’s idea for the family to visit Zambia together.
“For the last 10 years I have been involved in shooting the fund-raising films for Comic Relief and I have always thought that when the children were old enough, we would take them out somewhere to see how most people in the world live,” he said. “I wanted them to get perspective on the way the world works and show them that you can make a positive difference.”
Joe is now looking for any local businesses that may be able to offer their support in getting the remaining football gear out to Zambia.
Anyone who may be able to help can e-mail email@example.com.
The Worcestershire FA has supported the Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Appeal by donating kits.
Some 150 kits used by the county’s representative team were sent to the appeal via Squadron Leader Neil Hope and his team from RAF Shawbury.
Sqn Ldr Hope’s team has delivered more than 36,000 items, including 16,000 shirts to 32 countries worldwide.