Thursday, November 26, 2009

Club kits out charity drive

Source: Bury Times

3:10pm Thursday 26th November 2009

A BURY football enthusiast has flown to India to donate soccer kits to children in Bhopal.

Mark O’Rourke is travelling for a series of events to mark 25 years since a pesticide manufacturing plant leaked 27 tons of the deadly gas, methyl isocyanate, into the air.

Thousands of people died and, ever since, children in the city have been born with serious deformities.

Mark, a supporter and founder member of FC United of Manchester, will be re-establishing links between the club and the Bhopal Medical Appeal (BMA), set up to raise funds to help the survivors.

The BMA was FC United’s main sponsor in its first season and even wrote a curry recipe — the Bhopali Chicken FC United Wallah — specially for the club, using the match day programmes to tell a whole new audience about the disaster.

Now fans of the club — based at Gigg Lane — raised money and sent two complete kits to Bhopal where a new children’s team, FC United of Bhopal, has been established.

Father-of-three Mark, aged 51, who volunteers help for FC United junior section and its development fund, has taken a set of club shirts to Bhopal. They will be given to children who have been treated in a recently-built clinic.

He said: “I went on holiday to India in 2000 and fell in love with the place. To me, Bhopal is linked with FC United.

“I’m taking the shirts for the children in Bhopal, who have very little. So, they know people on the other side of the world are looking out for them and thinking of them.”

Mark, who lives in Chesham, added: “We had a great response from fellow supporters who donated money to pay for the kit and I’d like to thank everyone who helped. I hope the children will be excited to receive the shirts.”

FC United is holding a fundraising curry night at Veena’s in Heywood on Wednesday, December 2, in aid of the BMA. Tickets cost £15 with £5 being donated to the charity. For information: e-mail or visit