Couple in football kit plea for African kids

PUBLISHED: 12:30 24 September 2016

Jan pictured with some of the children during her last trip to Tanzania.

Jan pictured with some of the children during her last trip to Tanzania.

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A Lympstone couple are hoping to bring some smiles to the faces of teenage villagers in the depths of Africa.

Pete and Jan Hardy are appealing to football teams to let them have any old team shirts so they can help set up a league between five African villages in Tanzania.

The couple are setting off for their second trip to Western Tanzania to stay at the holiday island of Lupita on Lake Tanganyika. Close to the island are fishing communities where village life has gone unchanged for centuries.

The families live a very frugal existence, but soccer plays a huge part in the lives of the children.

Now the British couple who run the island have asked Pete and Jan to help them set up a local football league and hope they can bring out some shirts in their luggage allowance.

Whichever team donates will have their name directly linked to one of the African villages. Ideally, the shirts would fit teenagers.

Said Jan: “A shirt or a pair of shoes means so much to these people.

“The children are lovely and it would be so good to see them in matching team strips playing a proper game.”

Belinda Lithgow, the manager and part owner of Lupita, explained that it is a private island of 130 acres, five kilometres from the mainland at the Southern end of Lake Tanganyika.

She said: “The passion for a lot of the young men is still football. They know the English football teams and follow their favourite teams when they can by listening to radios and the rare occasion when they can watch a match in one of the bigger towns three hours away.”

The couple leave for Tanzania on Tuesday, October 4.

They are asking any teams that can help to call them on 07739 626078 or 01395 488 123.

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