Town shirts head for Iraq

GENEROUS Ipswich fans have answered a call from a US soldier and donated 220 old Town shirts as well as various other items of kit which will go to keen footballers in an Iraqi town.

GENEROUS Ipswich fans have answered a call from a US soldier and donated 220 old Town shirts as well as various other items of kit which will go to keen footballers in an Iraqi town.

Soldier Mark Stoneman, an avid Blues follower himself who moved to the United States in 1987, appealed to Blues supporters to give up their old kit for footballers in the town of Hamrin.

Currently those playing in the town are forced to wear shirts bearing the words 'A Gift from Saddam Hussein' - shirts that they turn inside out but are still not suitable.

Mr Stoneman, 40, got in touch with Phil Ham, editor of the Those Were the Days (TWTD) Ipswich website, who in turn made arrangements to collect kit before the game against Wolves, aided by the Ipswich Town supporters' trust.

And the response exceeded all expectations, with shirts, footballs, caps, boots and even a pump being handed over before kick-off.

The kit has been piled high in Mr Ham's living room but will soon be dispatched to Hamrin.

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Mr Ham said: “The response has been fantastic. I have been in contact with Mark and he's really chuffed, I don't think he was expecting the club and supporters to be so generous.

“When I was driving home after the game, I could hardly see out of the back window because of all the kit piled up in the back.

“It will go to Mark's base in Mansuriyah and then a US army convoy will take it 100 miles to Hamrin.

“It must be the first Ipswich kit that has ever had a military escort!”

Ipswich Town has also lent its support to the cause, donating 30 old home shirts, 50 away kits and other clothing items, while the cost of transporting the kit to Iraq has been met by Seawing Landguard, the company operated by supporters' trust chairman Carl Day.

However, the appeal is not finished yet. Mr Ham was due to collect kit again today at the Sir Alf Ramsey statue in Portman Road before the game against Queen's Park Rangers.

It is also possible to post items to TWTD, PO Box 87, Ipswich, IP4 2QE.

Weblink: www.twtd.co.uk

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