Old Tring Tornadoes kits enjoy a whirlwind journey to Africa
It was summer last year and the end of the football season when Tring Tornadoes JSC appointed FBT Europe Limited as its new main club sponsor and said goodbye to Grass Roots Group plc after six years of their sponsorship.
With new match kits on the way and all of the old kits collected in, Tring Tornadoes JSC communications officer Stephen Bailey began looking for a way to recycle them.
It was then that the Hertfordshire FA suggested that KitAid might be able to help. Derrick Williams, the founder of KitAid, is based in Hertfordshire and his love of the game has enabled him to broker old kits to some of the poorest children around the world.
On quick phone call later and a deal was done. “It’s great that 600 kits used by the Tring Tornadoes players over the years have found their way across Africa,” said Stephen.
“They help to support and change the lives of literally hundreds of kids, giving them self-respect and happiness.
“It’s amazing, the magic of a football shirt.”
Derrick added: “The donation of so many kits from Tring Tornadoes was superb as it has enabled hundreds of children in Uganda and Kenya to play the game they love wearing proper kits.”
Some of the kits have gone to former street kids in Kampala, Uganda – youngsters who Tring Tornadoes club photographer Vanessa Champion worked with last year with Fujifilm.
Vanessa is a Trustee of their charity Kitenge Africa, so she knows the huge difference the kits will make.
Derrick continued: “We often hear stories of teams being excluded from organised leagues because they cannot afford a kit.
“Football is massively popular in Africa, and the Tring Tornadoes kit will be cherished for many years to come. KitAid would like to say a massive thank you to Tring Tornadoes and would welcome any other kit donations from local clubs.”
Who knows, there may well be a future Premier League player running around in a Tring Tornadoes shirt now – in Tring, or on the African continent.