The couple set a goal of giving away 2,000 soccer jerseys to children for Christmas

A couple hoping to give 2,000 soccer jerseys to kids who might not have received Christmas presents say the project is a way to tell them “you belong” after the two’s support. famous.

aul and Lizzie Watson, both 38, have raised more than £8,600 for Kitmas 2022, a crowdfunding launched to distribute shirts through schools, community centers and food banks across the UK, and encouraged others to start their own Kitmases.

The couple, who live in Stroud, Gloucestershire with sons Luca, 5, and Benji, 18 months, said they were “jumping around the kitchen” when they received a £2,000 donation from James Corden, posted to Twitter by Mr. Watson. brother, comedian Mark Watson.

Mr Watson, a journalist, told the PA news agency: “I was running to the school and back and seeing it, I had a real moment.

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Paul Watson packing shirts with his children, Luca and Benji (Paul and Lizzie Watson/PA)

“I wrote a book not too long ago about managing a football team in the Pacific and James really liked it and cited it on its cover, so we got in touch. 10 years ago, very briefly.

“I think, I still have his contact information, he loves football and from my experience he is very, very generous to me, and within hours he said ‘I like this thing. this. Yes, I will donate’.

“And then, sure enough, the donation came out with a lovely message.”

Mr Watson said the donation would fund 100 football shirts.

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James Corden donates £2,000 to Kitmas 2022 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It read: “This is a great idea Paul and Lizzie. Congratulations Kitmas xxx”.

Ms Watson added: “It was the best moment – ​​we were dancing around the kitchen.

Mr and Mrs Watson worked with celebrity comedian and PR director Vix Leyton to organize the distribution of shirts across the UK.

It started in 2020 when the couple was able to organize around 1,000 shirts for kids for Christmas and last year hit the 2,000 mark.

“We are a great team,” Ms. Watson, the artistic director of a cultural tourism company, told PA.

“He has great ideas like this, but he also spent his adult life using football to help people.

“We take care of the logistics together, but that’s my strength.

“And then I also really enjoy contacting the food banks and building relationships with them.”

Mr Watson said the project was a way of giving children a “sense of identity”.

“Growing up, we didn’t always get a football shirt – it was like the pinnacle of a gift – but if you do, it’s like it’s your Christmas present, I I still remember how it felt,” he said.

“And I think the sad thing right now is that most families can’t buy football shirts for their children because the cost is so ridiculous. It’s a football way of saying ‘This is not for you’.

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Paul and Lizzie Watson hope to get 2,000 shirts distributed this year (Paul and Lizzie Watson/PA)

“But more than anything else, (getting a shirt) is like a sense of identity – it’s the feeling that you are part of something, and that is football.

“It’s a way of saying, ‘You are part of this and you belong’.”

Kitmas, also supported by donating shirts as well as money to buy them, has inspired other groups to run their own “side activities”, including clubs like Cheltenham Town and Frome Town.

Ms Leyton said: ‘We were so surprised by the response, and it was the first Christmas day as an adult that I was so excited about, knowing that the kids would wake up and open that gift and the parents would love it. Parents will be less worried.” Kitmas’ “marketing arm” and shirt collection center in London this year, told PA.

“Money was tight for my parents growing up but they really went out of their way to give me that day every year and I never really appreciated how much pressure that must be. .

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Vix Leyton is curating the Kitmas collection in London this year (Vix Leyton/PA)

“It is exciting to see people using it and running after it, especially as it makes football more accessible to girls,” she said of Kitmas founded by Goal Diggers FC, a non-profit club that makes football more accessible to everyone. all women and non-binary people in east London.

Mrs. Watson also talked about children’s reactions when they open their Christmas presents.

“Because we’re the middlemen, we don’t see the kids, but these are the real kids,” she said.

“I think there was a kid, his Barcelona scarf was his most valuable asset in the world and then he got a Barcelona shirt from us and he just couldn’t believe it, and he cried. .

“And these are the stories that we want more of this year, because they remind us that this is what we’re actually doing.”

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2022 will mark the third annual Kitmas celebration (Paul and Lizzie Watson/PA)

Mr Watson said it hoped to reduce “pressure on parents” amid the cost of living crisis.

“We won’t be able to pay everyone’s heating bills, there are other great people doing things like that,” he said.

“But what we can do is send some football jerseys. (We) just do what we can.”

To learn more about Kitmas 2022, visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kitmas-2022.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/and-finally/couple-aim-to-give-2000-football-shirts-to-children-for-christmas-42175863.html The couple set a goal of giving away 2,000 soccer jerseys to children for Christmas

Fry Electronics Team

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