These Welsh football fans are driving 2,500 miles to Georgia to help underprivileged children

The Gôl! Appeal are heading across the continent ahead of Wales’ World Cup qualifying match

It’s around 2,500 miles away but Welsh football supporters have decided to drive to Georgia this autumn for the national team’s World Cup qualifying match.

Set up in 2002, The Gôl! Appeal is run by Welsh fans who aim to help under-privileged children wherever the national side play.

He said: “We’ve followed Wales away for many years and we’ve had a fantastic welcome.

“At the time, England fans had disgraced themselves at the Euros and we thought we are not like that and wanted to give something back.

“Every time Wales play away, we do something.”

Since then the charity has helped children in more than 40 countries and run coaching sessions in places like New York and Africa.

They also give charities tickets for home games when the Welsh side are on home turf.

Now they’re hoping to raise as much money as they can to help children in need across Europe by driving much needed supplies across the continent.

Two cars will set off on the ten-day trip later this year to the city of Kutaisi which is twinned with Newport, taking football kits, clothes, nooks and supplies.

And if they make it there in one piece the cars they are travelling in will be donated to good causes in Georgia.

During the visit between October 1 and 4 Gôl! will also be visiting a day centre for young autistic people run by volunteers in Kutaisi and giving them an autism diagnostic kit as they can’t get their hands on one.

Welsh supporters will also help paint the Bridge Centre as well as visiting other children’s projects in the city including a children’s home in the capital Tbilisi.

But it’s not the first time the charity have made the trek to the country thousands of miles away.

Back in 2009, twenty-seven supporters drove to Kutaisi on the way to an international match in Azerbaijan and donated their cars and other gifts to children’s causes in the city.

Last autumn the fans brought two young Georgians over for the home fixture against Wales and arranged a series of visits for them.

Tim said: “Last year for the Serbia we brought children over here. Two children were from Georgia and four from Serbia.

“We picked them up from London and took them to Caerphilly Castle and Barry Island and got them teams shirts and watched Wales play.

“Then we took them to London and drove around the sites like Buckingham Palace.

“For these kids, they’ve absolutely nothing so it’s a trip of a lifetime for them.”

Nicoloz Rukhadze, who accompanied the children, said: “It’s really good that we have a friendship with this country.

“Our city and our country is very small, it’s good to have another nation that knows about us.”

Derek Butler from the Newport Kutaisi Twinning Committee said: “The imagination of every member of the committee was captured when we heard of Gôl’s plans.

“These are true Welsh supporters. Thanks to them for this amazing undertaking and for helping to strengthen our links with Newport’s sister city.”

Source – Written by Jessica Walford as featured on Wales Online – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-football-fans-driving-2500-13626513