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Euro 2016: Northern Ireland gain special support from children's orphanage in Uganda

The children were ecstatic after Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis retweeted their picture

By Claire Williamson

Northern Ireland have gained some extra-special support for their Euro 2016 tournament all the way from an orphanage in Uganda.

Proudly dressed in their Northern Ireland tops and their homemade banner - the children from New Beginnings Charitable Foundation (NBCF) are among the team's biggest fans.

On Sunday as Michael O'Neill's team take on Poland in their Euro 2016 opening game, the children will gather in the open-air to cheer on the team sharing the only television for miles.

Some of the children were in Northern Ireland in 2014 on their "Voice of Africa" choir tour where they sang at Stormont and various other venues.

NBCF has strong roots in Northern Ireland as its founder Roger Annett is from Kilkeel, Co Down.

Roger player for Northern Ireland in his youth at U-15 and U-17 level but now lives in Uganda rescuing under privileged and vulnerable children and over-seeing the project.

He said: "The children have a real love for Northern Ireland. Provided they have the funds, they will grace us again next August and get their hands on the European cup."

And the children got the best surprise of all when Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis, striker Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis retweeted their picture.

 

On Friday, after their photo was shared hundreds of times, the children rushed to school to make a new banner for the team.

"The children are always over the moon to be noticed on social media, never mind being retweeted by Northern Ireland players and stars", Roger said.

"When shown the link early this morning, they danced, sang and jumped their way to school with excitement and thankfulness that they were acknowledged in this way.

"These gestures will have a profound effect on the children as NBCF seek to encourage, inspire and build their self confidence since they have endured so much in their young lives. These tweets have certainly just done that. No doubt they will celebrate all day in Ugandan/Irish style and playing football of course."

The shirts the children are wearing were donated by volunteers from Northern Ireland who have visited the village and the flag was handcrafted by the children and will hang throughout the Euros tournament.

Roger added: "All children, staff and locals anxiously await for the first match on Sunday."

PROFILE

NBCF is a non-profit making organisation set up by a group of volunteers in Northern Ireland. They work closely with an experienced and carefully selected team in Uganda to help bring a better quality of life to some of Uganda’s most vulnerable young children. The village is a fully registered traditional family orientated home where children grow and thrive. It is home to 155 children who live in a loving, fully facilitated Christian home and are also taught many life skills. Children attend New Beginnings Primary School where 200 children receive a top quality education.

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