Shropshire based charitable appeal completes successful year

A Shropshire based charitable appeal that delivers ‘Aid through Football’ has completed another successful year.

Eccleshall Juniors kit at Archers Post in Northern Kenya
Eccleshall Juniors kit at Archers Post in Northern Kenya

The Royal Air Force Shawbury based Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Charitable Appeal ended 2019 having delivered football kit to 16 countries worldwide over 35 deliveries.

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 them to children and adults across the globe. Since its inception, the appeal has delivered over 244500 items of football kit and other items to people in 58 countries and in 2019 the appeal completed a hugely successful year by delivering over 27400 items including over 6700 football shirts.

Neil said: “It has been a hugely successful and busy year. We have delivered items across the globe including children and adults across Africa 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, through our fabulous links between the club, RAF Shawbury and RAF Football.

“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. Additionally, member clubs of Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, Hampshire FA, Worcestershire FA, Essex FA, Durham FA, QPR, Manchester United and The FA/England have donated thousands of items as have many other clubs, County FAs and individuals.”

2019 also saw the Appeal gain a Special Recognition Award at the inaugural County Football Association Recognition Awards at The FA for season 2018-19. This was fantastic recognition of the work of the Appeal in bringing football to children and adults across the world through its links through the RAF and RAF FA.

2020 is already building into a very busy year for the Appeal. In March a team of 10 will travel to Nepal to complete the gruelling Everest base Camp Trek whilst delivering kit donated by clubs and people in the UK. On the trip the team will also visit welfare homes and schools operated by the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Members of the team are mostly based at RAF Shawbury but include a representative from Securecloud+, one of the fabulous sponsors of RAF Football and the RAF Cup. Later in the year the Appeal team is planning for a smaller visit by the Appeal leads to Zimbabwe to look at a possible partner school and future delivery route whilst planning is ongoing for a full delivery trip to Kenya in late 2020 or early 2021.

The appeal continues to collect and re-distribute kit. More information can be received through Neil at neil.hope684@mod.gov.uk

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