Shropshire appeal donates football kit to 16 countries worldwide
A Shropshire-based charitable appeal that delivers aid through football has completed another successful year.
The Taking Football to Africa and Beyond appeal, based at RAF Shawbury, ended 2019 having delivered football kit to 16 countries worldwide.
The appeal, run by Wing Commander Neil Hope MBE, has been operating from the North Shropshire airbase since 2006 and collects donated football kit before re-distributing it to children and adults across the globe.
Since its inception the appeal has sent more than 244,500 items to people in 58 countries.
In 2019 they delivered more than 27,400 items, including 6,700 football shirts.
W Cmdr Hope said: "It has been a hugely successful and busy year. We have delivered items across the globe, as well as assisting with items for children in Belarus, affected by the Chernobyl disaster, and to the refugee camps on the Syria/Turkey border.
"In February we took 11 people to Kenya to deliver thousands of items of kit including in the large slum areas of Kibera, Kibagare and Mathare. We also continued to help numerous other charities with items of kit.
"As always, we have also had extensive assistance from Shrewsbury Town FC. We have been so impressed by the fantastic assistance given to us, through donations, from many outlets and especially Leicester City, who constantly provide exceptional kit to the appeal."
Last year also saw the appeal gain an award at the inaugural County Football Association Recognition Awards at The FA.
And 2020 is already looking to be a very busy year, according to W Cmndr Hope.
In March a team of 10 will travel to Nepal to complete the gruelling Everest Base Camp trek, while delivering kits.
During the trip the team will also visit welfare homes and schools operated by the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Later in the year the appeal team is planning a smaller visit to Zimbabwe to look at a possible partner school for a smaller visit.
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