BIG-hearted care home staff are to give poverty-stricken children in Africa a major lift.

Hundreds of Kenyan children will soon be wearing smart football shirts thanks to the efforts of employees at the Gwern Alyn home, which is part of the Wrexham-based Pendine Park care organisation.

Staff began collecting football shirts two years ago after Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft returned from a trip to East Africa.

During the visit he witnessed at first hand the poverty that blights the lives of thousands of children.

Gwern Alyn Care Home manager Cindy Clutton’s brother and sister in law also got involved following a holiday to Mombassa.

Wrexham FC has generously donated new shirts and there have also been football shirts obtained from other sources.

Mrs Clutton said: “Mario came back from Kenya and suggested we began collecting any unwanted football shirts and other bits of kit.

“Staff really took the idea on board and we began collecting one or two shirts.

“Our activities co-ordinator at Gwern Alyn, Gwen Hughes, has put a great deal of effort into collecting a huge number of shirts.”

Mr Kreft is planning to take the shirts out to Kenya while Mrs Clutton’s brother Mark Harden and wife Geraldine will shortly be returning to Mombassa.

“They are taking a suitcase full of shirts ready to hand out to children once they arrive,” she added. “In fact I don’t think Mark will have room for any clothes of his own.”

Mrs Harden and her husband, Mark, who live in Oswestry, became involved in collecting football shirts and other gifts for poor African children following their holiday two years ago.

She said: “We had a wonderful time but were so angry at the poverty in which so many children live.

“These poor kids have absolutely nothing. We were so touched by how just a small gift, like a football shirt, can make such a huge difference to their lives.”

Mrs Harden said the couple sponsor a Kenyan child called Kizigwa, aged six, through the charity HOLA and will be taking about 60 of the football shirts collected by Pendine Park staff.