Donation leaves UK for Hluvukani
Westend Football Club in the UK ran another equipment drive to collect soccer gear and uniforms to send to Hluvukani for the Black Birds teams in 2012. In November, the collection of gear filling 11 boxes left the UK destined for Hluvukani and arrived in early January 2013. (Note: these pictures are thumbnails; please click them to see the full-size image.)
Ricky and Jayne Thwaites with Harry and Smilling
The Westend donation was followed up by a personal visit from Westends’ Football Club Ricky Thwaites and his family who visited the village they have so generously sponsored since 2008.
Ricky Thwaites and family visit Hluvukani school
Harry and Smilling both took leave from work for the occasion and the day was spent visiting the schools, and interacting with the village children.
Smilling is in discussion with the heads of the local schools and plans to organize a regular tournament, the prize will be the shiny new trophy donated by Westend.
Adrian Ethridge of G.A.S.E. Marine, also UK based once again supported Kunavelela and its Soccer aims by covering all transport and customs costs and organized for the 11 boxes to be delivered door-to-door.
Our friends Adrien Etheridge and Ricky & Jayne Thwaites have been long-term supporters and financial contributors to the Kunavelela Community Project since 2008 and have made such a difference to the soccer component of the project.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to get the donation to Hluvukani.
Please click these pictures to see them full-size and use your back button to return.
Ricky Plays With Kids
Westend Soccer Donation
Some of the Team
Blackbirds in Uniform
With donations of soccer gear made by Westend Football club, the teams are now able to fully participate in matches held within the region, youngsters and older players regularly get to participate in friendly matches held in the village.
Later in the year, Westend Juniors showed their support of Kunavelela Soccer players and the project through a cash donation to be used as the project needed. The funds were kept in reserve for the festive seasons football matches and the teams were able to participate in the end of year league matches. The remaining funds went into savings and in February 2012, £50 was used to purchase a piece of land that the project hopes to develop as a day care centre. The remaining funds were used to purchase a laptop computer for Smilling who is getting more involved in the administrative side of the project.
We mentioned that the donations were on their way to the villiage: Harry was in the village to oversee the safe transfer of goods from the courier van to his house where the boxes were unpacked under the watchful eye of Niah and Flossie. Ricky included two Westend 20th Anniversary T-shirts, which Harry and Smilling put on immediately for a photo to send off to Ricky and all who contributed to this most generous donation. Many of the uniforms donated were just the right size for the littlies of the soccer teams and many of the items were handed out to those present, while the remainder was put back into the boxes for those not in attendance to be given later.
To date this is the largest donation of sports equipment the project has received.
From May 2010 to June 2011, the Westend Football Club from Huddersfield in the UK have collected 250 pairs of used soccer boots and other soccer kit from their members for the Hluvukani Blackbirds, most of whom are used to playing bare foot, even for matches.
Getting the boots all the way from Westend to Hluvkani presented a real challenge, until the amazing donation from Adrian Etheridge, MD of G.A.S.E. Marine Ltd, who is sponsoring the delivery door to door.
We’ll make sure lots of pictures are up as soon as we get them – and a very big thank you to all who have helped so much.
As host country to the world cup, South Africa was in the spotlight
over the last couple of months and the attention brought with it a renewed sense of pride to us all. Hearing that people came to visit with expectations of violence and incompetence made us try all the harder to show our visitors the meaning of UBUNTU (community spirit). So far reports from our international visitors have been extremely positive with special mention of the friendly and welcoming manor with which our guests were embraced. The vibe all over the country was infectious and although many locals tired of the vuvuzelas, they certainly added to creating a unique and memorable
world cup for all who witnessed or participated in it.
In Hluvukani, the focus has been on soccer, soccer and more soccer. Harry has been hard pressed to attend all the matches played at home and away and in the time building up to the World cup, the blackbirds practiced harder than ever in a show of support for our National team. Despite the fact that Bafana Bafana did not make it through to the final, the Blackbirds’ support during the tournament did not dwindle.
In between watching as many of the tournament games as possible, the Hluvukani Blackbirds have been attending practice proving that even with the distraction of the world cup they are as focused as ever. The reality of
hosting the World cup, inspired and motivated so many of the boys to improve their skills and they have been practicing like never before, with the hope that some will be spotted by the scouts when they partake in
the Manyeleti League matches during September.
Our first successful fundraising project on Betterplace was to buy the Blackbirds some new practice and match soccer balls.
Prior to this the teams had to share one ball between 130 boys – not very easy to practice, so the new balls mean that the practice sessions are much more effective!