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 Gol Appeal
Whilst the whole nation nervously awaits the Euro 2004 play-offs against Russia, one group of loyal Welsh fans hasnt had time to dwell on their hopes and fears. Instead, theyve channelled their nervous energy into fostering better foreign relations, improving the lives of children in care in Azerbaijan and Serbia, and promoting a positive image of Welsh football fans. 

Regardless of the result the previous evening at the Lokomotiv Stadium, Gl will be visiting the children who live in the ROOF {Russian Orphan Opportunity Fund} Orphanage in the Domededevo district of Moscow at 10.00 on Sunday morning, November 16th, to hand out gifts and hopefully to have a friendly footballing lesson from the kids!

Thanks to the generosity of the fans, as well as several groups, companies and organisations, Gl will donate football kits and equipment, toiletries, sweets, clothing and a substantial cash sum to the orphanage further developing a project which has far-exceeded our expectations since being established just over 12 months ago according to Gl Chairman, Dylan Llewelyn.

Following successful visits to orphanages in the Azeri capital, Baku {Nov 02}, Gl arranged for two Azeri children and their carer to visit Wales for the return match last March. The boys were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead both teams onto the Millenium Stadium pitch, as well as spending a few days sampling life with a family of Newport County fans.

Gl visited an orphanage in Belgrade twice once for the match that didnt take place in April 03 and the second time on the rearranged date, four months later. In conjunction with the British Embassy, we purchased tickets for 35 Serbian orphans to attend the international between our two countries at the Red Star stadium sadly, a match they enjoyed more than the Welsh fans!

The ROOF orphanage in Moscow houses 80 children of various ages who are either orphans or children, and whove been taken from their families due to abuse or the inability of parents to look after them. 

It costs about $10 a day per child to feed them and clothe them. The orphanage relies on government grants most of the time, but Gl will be their first real sponsor said Orphanage Co-ordinator Dina Vikas, before adding, The thing these kids really miss is simply sweets. Things like yoghurt, lollies and cakes are luxuries they dont get too often. 

With that in mind Gl will be donating thousands of sweets and an individual selection box to the Russian children thanks to the personal generosity of Gl Treasurer and Newport County fan Duncan Jardine and his partner Denise. Perennial kids favourites such as flying saucers, sherbet straws, drumsticks and marshmallows, will of course be accompanied by specially purchased boxes of toothbrushes and toothpaste!

Duncan and Denise are by no means the only generous Newport County fans. The clubs supporters organisation, the Amber Army, has collected enough money over the last threee weeks to buy 30 pairs of football boots, provided through JJB Sports at a discount, to take to the ROOF orphanage. Hopefully these boots will be used alongside kits donated by Ysgol Brynhyfryd in Ruthin, Denbighshire and footballs provided by BBC Radio Cymrus Saurday morning programme Ar y Marc.

Sets of colour pens, pencils, crayons and paint which have been bought thanks to the fundraising efforts of nine year old Cardiff City fan, and regular Wales traveller, Rhys Chester Hartley, who collected nearly 250 at his primary school, Ysgol Pencae in Cardiff.

Further gifts for the Russian children inlcude pyjamas generously donated by Bala-based clothing manufacturer Aykroyds & Son as well as pennants, photographs and badges kindly provided by the Football Association of Wales.

A cash sum of US$750 will also be given to the orphanages Director by Gl - money raised from a raffle for prizes which will include two prestigious signed Welsh shirts amongst other items, which will be held onboard the two charter planes full of Welsh fans that have been organised by travel company Red Arrow Travel.

Moscow based Wales and Swansea City fan, Nick Rees, who has helped set up the visit added "Having been a lonely Swans fan, surrounded by English, Scottish and Irish fans here for the last 9 years, it's very emotional to have Wales coming over to play. The kind gesture and donation made towards the visit is quite amazing. I've always been proud to be Welsh and thanks to the donations made by fellow Welsh people, the locals will start to understand why. Thanks to everyone involved - you can't imagine how much good you have done."

For further details, information or interview requests please contact one of the following:-

Dylan Llewelyn {Pwllheli} Chairman 07717 840461 Welsh + English
Neil Dymock {Llanelli} Secretary 07736 033785
Duncan Jardine {Blackwood} Treasurer 01495 220528
Rob Santwris {Newport} Amber Army 07989 448692
Gary Pritchard {Anglesey} Webmaster 07866 762463 Welsh + English

Further background information can be found on the Gl website 
which has been created recently 

www.gol.org.uk
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