South Yorkshire firms help African children play football

Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms  John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.
Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.
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Two South Yorkshire businesses have helped bring sport to more than 1,000 children in Africa.

Sheffield-based car dealership John Holland and Doncaster's Close Brothers Motor Finance supported a visit by football coaches from Mexborough Life Church to Mufulira, in the Kankoyo district of Zambia.

Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms  John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.

Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.

The coaches worked with children and organised football tournaments in the copper mining town, and initially expected a turnout of about 250.

But more than 1,000 children eventually got involved after the two businesses sponsored T-shirts for the children to wear.

Mark Wall is branch manager for Close Brothers Motor Finance. His son Daniel was one of the coaches that flew to Zambia.

Mark said said: “The trip was a huge success and was fantastically-well received. It was a real eye-opener for everyone involved and we hope similar trips will take place in the future.

“After I first contacted John Holland about the venture, they jumped at the opportunity to get involved. Their money allowed us to send the t-shirts out to Zambia.

Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms  John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.

Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.

"The kids used to have to play in their school uniform because that’s all they have. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money, but it puts some new clothes on their backs to play in.

“It was quite remarkable seeing how many children turned out. We were expecting 250, but more than 1,000 ended up getting involved.”

The project was organised by UK charity Dare 2 Dream, which aims to raise aspirations and improve life opportunities of children, young people and the wider community.

Each coach raised the £1,600 needed to travel for the three-week venture through a variety of fundraising activities, including charity auctions and walks.

Mark Holland, managing director of John Holland, said: “We were delighted to be involved with this project, bringing sport to under-privileged children in other parts of the world. As soon as Close Brothers approached us, we were eager to get involved.

"We’re immensely proud of the impact this project has had and we look forward to hearing more and more stories from the Mexborough Life Church coaches in the coming weeks and months.”

Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms  John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.

Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.

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Zambian children coached by Mexborough Life Church wearing T-shirts sponsored by South Yorkshire firms  John Holland and Close Brothers Motor Finance.

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