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Barnardo’s and Vauxhall Motors join forces to give young football fans the opportunity of a lifetime
Four lucky young football fans were chosen to represent their country as flag bearers at the Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan game at Windsor Park on Friday 11th November.
As part of Vauxhall Motors’ sponsorship of the national football teams; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – the football fanatics were singled out by Barnardo’s – the UK’s largest children’s charity to take part in this special occasion.
As flag bearers, Bobby-Joe (Dunmurray), Nicole (Bangor), Nathan (Ballynahinch) and Rachael (Belfast) were guests of newly developed Windsor Park and Vauxhall Motors where they walked through the tunnel, onto the pitch alongside the Northern Ireland football team. Representing their nation, they were tasked to hold their national flag during the national anthems.
Speaking before the game about the opportunity, Nicole, 12, said, “I support the Northern Ireland football team so it was a really good surprise and I’m really excited. It will be my first time at Windsor Park. I’ve told all my family and friends and they’re all going to be watching. I don’t know where Azerbaijan is but it’s exciting to think I’m going to be on TV there too.”
Rachel, 13, said, “I’m so excited. I saw Northern Ireland play in the Euros in France and I know all the songs and chants. I’m really hoping I get to see Kyle Lafferty as he’s my favourite and if I was brave enough I would ask for his boots. I’ve told everyone I’m going to be a flag bearer, even my uncle in Australia.”
Nathan, 14, said, “I’ve been a Northern Ireland football fan for about eight years. I’ve been to Windsor Park twice but I usually watch them on TV. I didn’t hesitate to say yes when I was asked if I wanted to be a flag bearer. I might be a bit nervous before we go out into the stadium but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Andrew Curley, Head of Sponsorship and Events, Vauxhall Motors said; “At Vauxhall Motors we look to bring people together through our sponsorship of our national football teams. Football is a game which unites people whatever their background and we’re delighted to offer this opportunity to Nathan, Rachel, Nicole and Bobby-Joe into Windsor Park who I’m sure will proudly represent Northern Ireland and go home with an experience they’ll never forget.“
Barnardo’s believes in children regardless of their circumstances, gender, race, disability or behaviour. Their purpose is to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children. They believe that every child deserves the best start in life and the chance to fulfil their potential.
Lynda Wilson, Director, Barnardo’s Northern Ireland said; “We are delighted that four children from Barnardo’s Northern Ireland have been given the opportunity to be flag bearers at the game against Azerbaijan at Windsor Park.
"It’s a fantastic opportunity for any child or young person to be part of such a prestigious occasion and our four children are thrilled to have been invited.
"We would like to thank Vauxhall Motors as the Northern Ireland team sponsor for extending the invitation to Barnardo’s and including us in such an exciting and high profile event."