Man overwhelmed by response to his simple football kit request

A man was blown away by the response he received to his simple request for football kits to help disadvantaged children.

Lance Gibbons, 59, works as a site manager for a housing association in Warrington, and he told the ECHO that he was first inspired to undertake his charitable mission after a conversation with his colleagues.

Lance said that he started chatting to a number of Sri Lankan security workers on the site where he works.

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The 59-year-old, from Walton, who "often uses footballer as an icebreaker” in conversations, said he struck up a conversation about his shared love of sport with his colleagues.

During this conversation, Lance said the security workers told him that some Sri Lankan children in villages in the Central Province don’t have proper footwear or clothing to participate in sports.

Lance "could not get this out of his head” and decided to put a call out on social media. He asked for donations of old football boots and kits of “any age, any team, any colour”.

After only “expecting one box”, Lance was overwhelmed by the number of donations he received. He estimates he has received around 32 boxes so far, and this number is still growing.

The donations include football boots, strips, tracksuits, and footballs. Lance said people were so generous that he now needs to arrange air freight to transport all the items to Sri Lanka. Two local businesses, Ian Hurst from Hurst Bros Produce and Kurt Wilson from Fuel Station, have generously offered to support his mission by helping cover the cost of the transport.

The donations will be sent to a number of different schools and charity organisations in Sri Lanka’s Central Province, and Lance says there are already plans in place for sports days and football matches with the new kits.

Lance and his wife Sandie, chef Danny McDonnell and his partner Madalaine are planning on visiting the area in August to meet the local community, help distribute the kits, and see their donations in action.

Lance hopes that the donations “will bring a smile to children’s faces” and create links between the Liverpool community and the communities in Sr Lanka’s Central Province.

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