Virus forces postponment of Lewis football strips for Africa trip

Alasdair Nicholson with young Point FC players and representatives from the club and Point and Sandwick Trust. Photograph: Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos NO F13 Point FC strips
Alasdair Nicholson with young Point FC players and representatives from the club and Point and Sandwick Trust. Photograph: Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos NO F13 Point FC strips

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A plan to bring football strips from the youngsters of Point FC to a school in Africa has been disrupted at the 11th-hour due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Development consultant Alasdair Nicholson, who regularly goes to Tanzania to help develop local skills in community enterprise, was in Edinburgh ready to fly to Africa today recently, but decided to cancel the trip in the light of the UK warning against all non-essential travel.

Mr Nicholson, who also works as a community consultant for community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, had collected a bundle of junior Point FC strips, as well as science textbooks, to take with him to a joint primary and secondary school at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.

He was taking the strips out to Northern Tanzania after Point and Sandwick Trust sponsored new kit for the young players of Point FC.

Point and Sandwick Trust had also provided a couple of footballs for the school and Mr Nicholson had spoken of what a difference it would make to the children there.

He had anticipated great ‘glee and happiness’ at the gifts and had told the Wee Reds in Point that children in Africa were often without strips or boots – sometimes even footballs.

‘Sometimes they make footballs from rolled up banana leaves,”’ he said. He also told the youngsters: ‘I’m just the carrier of these strips. You are the ones who’re donating them.’

However, he decided against making the journey and plans to go back later, when the situation has settled down.

Mr Nicholson said: “Things are moving so fast with coronavirus in the last few days that it is uncertain what borders will be closed or flights cancelled. This is a postponement rather than a total withdrawal but I would not want to be an accidental vector from any casual contact in passing through Amsterdam or from a crowded African bus.

‘Yes I’m disappointed but there will be vulnerable people who are at risk and any problems I have encountered are nothing compared with the anxiety that they will have so our thoughts should be with our neighbours and community.’

 

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Alasdair Nicholson with young Point FC players and representatives from the club and Point and Sandwick Trust. Photograph: Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos

NO F13 Point FC strips