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The Church of Ireland -  Press Release - 19 July 2004 - anticipating the event


The Church of Ireland Youth Initiative in the Upper Shankill area of Belfast is to bring 150 boys and girls from the age of 6 to 14 together for a three-day football coaching experience.

The youngsters, most of whom have no particular church connections, will be trained by seven Liverpool FC Coaches from Tuesday, 20th July to Thursday, 22nd July.

And appropriately enough the soccer school will be held in Paisley Park on the West Circular Road.

The highlight of this soccer bonanza will be the arrival of the FA Cup and the Worthington Cup on Thursday (22nd July) afternoon when the Liverpool FC Chaplain, Bill Bygroves, will attend to present prizes and speak to the young people.

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, Rt Revd Alan Harper said: I am very enthusiastic about this initiative. It is an imaginative way in which the Church can help meet the needs of young people on their home ground. It also gives young people an opportunity to get involved with skills training at the very highest level and its certain to be great fun!

Valerie Thom, Church Army Community Evangelist in the Parish of Greater Shankill and co-ordinator of the event said: This will be the only opportunity I will ever get to hold the FA Cup and I cant wait. We have been planning this since last September and we are thrilled that the Liverpool FC community team responded so positively.

I am excited about the work we are doing here with other churches and local groups. This is a positive message to and about the people of this community. Church is not just buildings and Sunday Services; it is about caring for people in all aspects of their lives and showing the love of Christ in a practical way. We hope to show the young people that we are interested in them and excited about the things they enjoy.

The Liverpool FC Community Coaches travelling to Belfast are Edward Sullivan, Matthew Baines, Craig  Robinson, Carl McAuley, Liam Higgins, Anthony Wright and Forbes Duff.

Originally published at

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