Each player donated £3.50 and old items of footballing gear such as boots and kit that will be flown out to Africa by Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO).
Last Friday’s match was also a chance for young footballers to play on a proper football league ground at Meadow Lane and be treated like professional footballers for the evening.
Organiser Paul Bryant explained, “I did something very similar six years ago after hearing a story about when a container with donated items was opened. Apparently a plastic bottle fell out of the container and the kids started playing football with it in their bare feet. After hearing about this, I arranged a football match and each lad donated a football and kit and the stories that came back after sending out all the football stuff was astounding. There were a limited number of football boots so they shared them out and they were kicking the balls around wearing only one boot each!”
FOMO looks after 5,000 orphans in the Mulanje district of Malawi, providing meals, healthcare, playschools and education. It also runs activities for children and has installed several deep well bore holes for isolated villages.
Fern Joyce has travelled out to Africa with Bratton Baptist Church to see the work of the charity. She said, “We found lots of happy and smiling children, despite their desperate poverty. Everybody loves playing football! Sometimes the children will share a pair of football boots – one wears the left boot, the other the right – and they will play barefoot if they don’t have boots. They often make their own footballs out of old bags and string.
“There will be some delighted children in Malawi when all the football gear reaches them.”
PICTURED : members of Westbury Youth U12s with the kit they donated. PICTURED LEFT: orphans often make their own footballs out of old bags and string.