It comes after the couple returned from The Gambia last week, where they gave players from the Afia Banjul Football Academy Foundation a big surprise. Isabel, who works for the Llanelli Star and South Wales Evening Post, said: “We took bibs and T-shirts out for them and it was a lovely feeling to be able to help them.
“It was extremely rewarding. The players were over the moon and couldn’t wait to put their tops and bibs on. They were really excited to see us and find out what we had for them in our bags.” Ahead of their trip, the couple had organised fundraising events over a number of months, generating more than £200 towards equipment. The campaign started after husband and wife Isabel and Craig visited the Gambia last year and witnessed youngsters on the beach playing football without shoes or other equipment. Now thanks to their determination and generosity the academy’s young players are well on their way to emulating their favourite professional stars and achieving a better life.
“A lot of places out there show matches, and they love teams including Liverpool, Manchester United and the Swans,” Isabel said. “Eventually we hope to fly some of them over here to take part in football trials for big teams. Education isn’t free in The Gambia so our aim is to make sure all the children in the academy enter school and get an education.”
In a bid to boost their chances, Isabel is calling for people to donate boots their children have grown out of and replica football shirts. Donations can be dropped off at the wedding and party shop in Bynea, the Llanelli Star, Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Evening Post offices for the Gambia Appeal. Donations from ages five to 15 will be accepted. The shirts and boots will then be shipped out to the players this summer.]]>