The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Sheffield United Stars and Malta put their shirts on farm charity

Malta Independent Sunday, 10 May 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

Some of Sheffield United’s players visited Sheffield’s Whirlow Hall Farm to show the special shirts they will be wearing tomorrow Saturday in the vital promotion clash against Swansea City.

Through the Malta Tourism Authority’s unique sponsorship of the Blades, the branding of the Farm will appear on the red and white stripes instead of the usual Visit Malta branding for the Blades.

Also, in association with Air Malta, the Authority is providing the opportunity for a group of ten children from the city to visit the island in a special exchange trip which will see ten Maltese come to Sheffield where they will be hosted by Whirlow Hall Farm. In recognition, usual back of shirt sponsors, the Valad Group, have agreed to Air Malta branding appear in its place.

Players, including Irish Under 21 international Stephen Quinn, England Under 21 international Kyle Naughton and Maltese international goalkeeper Justin Haber, showed off the shirts to children and staff at the farm.

The move to support the farm - an educational trust working largely with inner city children and young people with special needs and disabilities - and the offer of a special trip for ten of those same youngsters could not have come at a better time for the farm charity. Like many other charities, it has seen a fall off in donations and is in urgent need of a boost to funds through the initiative which will also see the special shirts being auctioned off.

Sheffield United Corporate Director Andy Daykin, whose club has just announced a two year extension of its partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority, said: “This is a remarkable gesture from the Malta Tourism Authority supported by the Valad Group. The players are supporting the initiative and today’s visit to the farm and meeting the children is part of that backing.”

Alex Incorvaja, Director - UK & Ireland, from the Malta Tourism Authority, said: “We wanted to put something back into the region. The aim of this initiative is to help provide a long term future for the farm and the children who use the remarkable facilities. By giving up our usual shirt branding for the Swansea game we want to raise awareness of Whirlow’s current situation and show its need for help.”

Brian Bartolo, Air Malta’s General Manager Marketing & Product, said: “Air Malta is excited to be associated with Sheffield United FC and the Whirlow Hall Farm Trust that assists children and young people with special needs or disabilities. Through Air Malta’s assistance two groups of children from Malta and Sheffield will be visiting Whirlow and spending a couple of days at this educational facility.

“This year we are celebrating our 35th anniversary and this assistance forms an integral part of our anniversary festivities. Over the years, Air Malta has been at the forefront of Corporate Social Responsibility activities assisting various philanthropic organisations in similar projects.”

Whirlow Hall Farm Trust, which was founded 30 years ago, has seen nearly 300,000 children visit the classroom in the countryside on a daily or residential basis. Joan Ward, head of fundraising at Whirlow Hall Farm said: “It was great to have the players bring the shirts to the Farm - Malta Tourism Authority’s decision to let Sheffield United wear shirts with our name on is great exposure for the charity. We rely on charitable donations, as has been well-publicised, and we hope this initiative helps raises the profile of the charity so that the city of Sheffield can benefit from the farm for many more years to come.”

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