A football club donates Kenyan Football teams.

Gary Lamb, of Seaham, is a lorry driver but in his spare time is the UK President of Sunderland AFC Keroche, a football team and academy from the village of Karai, on the outskirts of Naivasha Town, in Kenya, Africa.

The community project started in 2012 with Sunderland strips for one team but over the years, many more strips have been donated to other football clubs in Africa such as Newcastle and most recently Hexham Football club kits.

Gary recalls how he first started the project, he said : " I was contacted by a manager of the African team called “Paul Kimani” as he approached me via Facebook to ask if there was a possibility of trying to donate kits and boots etc.

"I was sceptical but after checking out the team and satisfied everything was genuine, I put out an appeal for Sunderland shirts, plus boots, shorts and socks etc. and was overwhelmed by the response, not only items for the football team, but donations also included items such as clothing, bedding, mattresses, children’s toys, bikes, school books, pens, pencils, toothbrushes & toothpaste, and much more. So Sunderland AFC Keroche, the school and their village of Karai, became a whole new place.

"This was back in 2012 and since then, we have had different clubs donating their old kit to the kids in Africa. Kits and shoes that kids and teenagers have in the UK is like gold dust to kids in Africa. Football kit costs three months wages over there - so the kids really appreciate everything that is donated to them."

Gary has recently returned from a 12-day tour which he was able to celebrate 10 years of the charity organisation and club.

Gary said: "It was lovely to go and give the kits out as myself and John were meant to go out last year but we were not able to due to Covid. This year I had to go by myself as John, the Vice President had health concerns."

On his last trip, Gary was able to give Hexham football kits to a club called 'Feyenoord' which was donated by volunteer coach at Hexham FC Mark Gradwell.

Mark speaks about how he got involved, he said : " We were sorting out a load of old kits from the club and we had previously tried a boot recycling idea at our previous Presentation day. I requested for more boot donations to come in and we managed to get a dozen or so more.

"As well as my role as a volunteer coach at the club I also volunteered to be the kit coordinator for the club. The previous Chairman Patrick McAlindon encouraged the recycling idea and it was then about finding a worthy cause.

"As a Sunderland fan I was following Gary and Sunderland AFC Keroche facebook page and I thought it was an excellent cause. Gary Lamb and John Eilbeck work tirelessly to help provide strips, boots, shoes and football equipment to those less fortunate in Kenya.

"As well as strips and old boots we provided some cones, bibs and footballs as part of the shipment. I met John in Prudhoe and he took the equipment back to his before it made its way over to Kenya a few months later.

"With Covid there were logistical delays and Keroche had their season partly abandoned also. "Thankfully it is back up and running and the equipment is going to teams in need. We will continue to support the cause when we can and we have had other interest from other local clubs looking to do the same. Gary and John were extremely grateful, we were please that older equipment was being recycled and kids and adult teams less fortunate were getting good use out of it

"I am very proud to have been part of something special but Gary, John and all of their volunteer helpers deserve the praise for all of their hard work."

"If anyone has any decent 2nd hand football boots, or kids ladies or mens shoes that they no longer use, please contact Hexham FC Facebook inbox.

"It is only equipment and kit in good order and in adequate numbers (e.g. strips) for a playing squad."