KIND-HEARTED West Fife footballers have continued to display teamwork despite the sporting shutdown by kitting out budding players in Africa.

Squads within Dunfermline Athletic Girls' and Ladies' Football Club (DAGLFC), which runs teams from under-nines up to its senior team, came together recently to collect old strips to send to Malawi.

Spearheaded by Chris Wilmshurst, coach of the under-13 'Tigers' team, the collection was carried out in collaboration with the Pars Foundation, the community arm of Dunfermline Athletic.

After establishing a link between schools in Dunfermline and in Karonga, Malawi; Chris, a teacher at St Leonard's Primary School, joined colleagues Joanne Lisle and Janet Kerr, and Katrina Muir and Patricia Baird, from St Margaret's, in travelling to the country with the Pars Foundation two years ago.

They took books donated from pupils with them so schools could start libraries, while youngsters in Karonga also received football coaching.

"We were there for a week and, since we came back, have been doing regular fundraising and collecting things to send out," Chris explained.

"Having been out there, I've seen first hand what it means to people. They were so happy and welcoming, even though they have nothing, and it's great to be able to see what things they can benefit from.

"Especially at the moment, when it's all looking at bit bleak, it was nice to be able to do something like that before the shutdown. It's important that sort of stuff can continue as much as possible.

"We had loads of kit, especially from the ladies, and every team was keen to get involved."

With the help of his daughter, Lola, Chris took six boxes of strips to Dundee-based charity, The Bananabox Trust, which was established three years ago to support and send aid to people in northern Malawi.

They send essential and needed goods to assist and develop businesses and communities, and DAGLFC chair, Alan Martin, hopes the club can forge further links in the country.

He said: "We were really impressed by Chris' account of his trip to Malawi and, when he suggested sending out old kit from across our various squads to benefit teams there, the club was quickly on board.

"It's great to think that the strips now have a second life in Africa, and we look forward to seeing pictures of the teams kitted out in the Pars colours!

"A pre-season tour to Malawi might be a bit ambitious(!) but hopefully we can make some links with the teams over there and keep up to date with their progress."


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