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Canary shirts from Norfolk for African street kids

PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 July 2010

The name and number of former Canary star Darren Huckerby has spread to another continent.

The name and number of former Canary star Darren Huckerby has spread to another continent.

Scores of street children in the poorest country in the world have been practising their footie tricks in yellow and green Canary shirts, thanks to a charity being launched in Norfolk tonight.

Scores of street children in the poorest country in the world have been practising their footie tricks in yellow and green Canary shirts, thanks to a charity being launched in Norfolk tonight.

The man behind the organisation is Tom Dannatt, son of General Sir Richard Dannatt, who served as the army's Chief of the General Staff until August.

Tonight Sir Richard, who also runs a family farm in Keswick near Norwich, will be sharing a stage with Jeremy Goss at Carrow Road to lend his support to his son's venture.

Street Child of Sierra Leone was set up 10 months ago to help the most deprived class in the most deprived country in the world, and today is the launch of the charity's Norfolk supporter's group.

It is the first regional base for the charity, which has drawn seven young professionals from Norfolk to fly out to Sierra Leone and volunteer expertise, while Norwich City Football Club offered up more than 40 old shirts to the cause.

The donation was of both old yellow home and green away strips, so teams competing against each other are both in Canary colours.

Mr Dannatt, 30, said: “The main thought was to start a charity to help the poorest of the poor. Sierra Leone is a pretty desperate place - you go there and think who are you going to help? Children living on the street is a pretty sad state.

“The idea is we have our own firm base in Norfolk to attract volunteers to come over and offer their skills, to start a regional footprint and establish links.

“It's not just a question of charity, it's a question of justice.”

The charity, based in the northern region's capital Makeni, works by identifying children in need and providing emergency care, before reunifying them with family and education and supporting them until they can sustain independence.

As an “expert-volunteer” led charity it relies as much on skilled individuals offering their time as they do contribution, and have been backed by Comic Relief, UNICEF and KPMG.

When it was founded in December the charity found 120 children, of which 118 where reunified by May, allowing them to recruit another 50, or which 48 have not been returned to their homes.

Tonight Sir Richard will speak to outline how removing street child poverty is essential to preventing another civil war, which would require intervention from the British Army as it did throughout the 1990s.

It will also see the screening of a short film, made by local Gighouse films for free, before Mr Dannatt will outline what the charity has achieved since it was founded at the end of last year.

Mr Dannatt runs a recruitment firm in London and lives wife Lucinda 31, and son Arthur, two and Freddie, under one.

The event is open to all and takes place at Carrow Road's The Business at 7.30pm tonight.

To find out more about the charity, visit www.street-child.co.uk.

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