A true free kick

GAME ON: Rachael Armitage is heading to Tanzania later this month. Picture by by Patch Dolan of RPM.

GAME ON: Rachael Armitage is heading to Tanzania later this month. Picture by by Patch Dolan of RPM.

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a SPORTS fan is hoping to kick-start African children’s interest in football.

Rachael Armitage is one of six people travelling to Tanzania to deliver more than 1,500 footballs some of the poorest children living in rural Africa as part of The Great Football Giveaway.

Miss Armitage, 33, said: “I have been lucky to play sport for as long as I can remember. The thought of not having a football, a hockey stick or some tennis balls available to play the sports that we love to play is incomprehensible to us in the UK. I cannot wait for us to get out to and start giving out all the footballs to help put smiles on children’s faces across Mbeya.”

The Great Football Giveaway, a UK-based charity set up in 2006, aims to help draw kids off the streets, get them into education and unite communities. It also works closely with educational projects such as HIV and malaria awareness.

The group, headed by Stephanie Branston, who works for the charity, will travel through the region of Mbeya in south west Tanzania during July and August.

Miss Armitage, of Crossley Lane, Mirfield, said: “The Great Football Giveaway has a very simple premise – every £10 donated is converted into a new football, pump and spare valves which we will then hand deliver to some of Africa’s most disadvantaged children.”

Founder of the charity Paul Clarke added: “The Great Football Giveaway is the simplest of ideas. A football. A kid. A smile. Beyond that, footballs are a hugely resourceful tool; they help to increase school attendance, draw vulnerable kids off the street, and show how kids from warring African villages can use football to play together in peace.”