Friday, 5 March 2010
THE FIRST SIR BOBBY ROBSON ‘TRIBUTE SHIRTS’ ARRIVE IN AFRICA
Football shirts left in tribute to Sir Bobby Robson after his death in July last year are now being received by children in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Around 6,000 football shirts, scarves and flags were left by fans at Sir Bobby’s former clubs - Newcastle United, Ipswich Town, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham – in an incredible outpouring of affection and respect for the former England manager.
Many feature touching personal messages regarding Sir Bobby and they are now being distributed by a number of charities - KitAid, the RAF’s Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Appeal, Coaches Across Continents and CAFOD – to benefit disadvantaged people in Eastern Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
The first shirts distributed overseas have been delivered to Gambia where they are being used by The Association For Child Education (TAFCE) - an education and vocational skills project set up by local people in Kerewan.
A delivery has also been made to a project run by Don Bosco Homes, which helps street children in Liberia.
Sir Bobby’s youngest son, Mark Robson, recently helped the charity KitAid box up hundreds of the shirts ready for distribution overseas. He plans to visit Kenya later this year to see the benefits the shirts are bringing at first hand.
Mark says: “It’s truly amazing to hear the stories about how much a simple piece of football kit means to these children.
“I’m very much looking forward to helping deliver some of these tribute items so I can see for myself the difference it is making.
“As a family we were taken aback by the response to dad’s death – it was all on such an incredible scale. Tens of thousands of pounds was donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in his memory and the scenes with all the football memorabilia at St James’ Park and in Ipswich were just incredible.
“We are very touched that so many people thought so highly of him. I’m sure my dad, above all people, would be very happy knowing these children are enjoying playing and following football because they have a football shirt of their own.”
Since its launch in 1998, KitAid has distributed 100,000 items of football kit to 35 different countries.
The charity’s founder, Derrick Williams, says: “We’re really pleased that the first shipment of Sir Bobby Robson shirts has arrived in Gambia and the reaction from the children who received them was superb.
“They love anything to do with football in the UK and they are now all following the English teams with even more interest.”
For further information regarding KitAid please visit www.veoliawater.co.uk/kitaid.