The distinctive green shirts of Lindfield junior ootballers are gracing a dusty football pitch on the other side of the world and inspiring the young players who proudly wear them.
The shirts have been donated to a team of young footballers in a small village in Kenya – thanks to the eforts of one Lindfield dad.
Sean Collins, whose son Max plays for Lindfiel Juniors, sprang into action after hearing stories from his friend and former villager Laura Price who works at a small school in very poor area of Nairobi.
Laura moved to Kenya with her husband Chris, who works for Dfid (the UK’s oveseas development agency).
“Laura told me how many of these young children have to walk 10 kilometres to get to school – while our children just cross the common,” said Sean. “In many cases, the only proper meal they are likely to get is a basic porridge type of food provided by the school.
”Laura asked if Sean’s sons had any old sports kit that she could take back to the children, as the school had no kit or money to buy any.
“We were glad to help and a few treasured West Ham shirts are now the very proud possessions of a couple of Kenyan boys and girls,” said Sean. “Trust me, West Ham need all the support we can get and I want 10% of any future signings from Kenya!”
But it didn’t stop there, as Sean soon set a new goal. “I started thinking on a grander scale as I have been involved with Lindfield Junios for many seasons,” he said. “ I contacted Ian Masters from Masters and Sons, who have kindly sponsored teams for years, to see if he had any of his old kits that I could have. Within days I had a whole stash to give to Laura to take over to the school - shirts, shorts, bibs, gloves. Amazing! We now have a Lindfield Junios (Nairobi) FC team!”
And it’s not just the Kenyan footballers who are benefiting
“It’s a wonderful thing for our fairly privileged kids to see and be involved with. A change from moaning because their Fifa 2012 X-box disc is scratched!” said Sean.
“I was immensely chufed by my son Max’s reaction to giving up his kit in the fist place and seeing the photos of a boy, in the middle of Africa, wearing his No.11 West Ham shirt with ‘Collins’ emblazoned across the back!”
Sean now plans to expand the project and send dozens more kits for diferent age groups. “My next plan is to talk to the Secretary of Lindfield Junios to see if we can supply any more old kits from many age groups to these teams. Maybe old boots and trainers, too, that our kids grow out of so quickly.
“Who knows? One day we could even take a team of boys over there on tour to play a few matches!”
To find out moe and to donate your child’s football kit, contact Sean on firstname.lastname@example.org