Bury man is visiting India to donate football kits to children in Bhopal.
Mark O’Rourke will be spending four days in Bhopal during a series of events to mark 25 years since a pesticide manufacturing plant leaked 27 tons of the deadly gas, methyl isocyanate, into the air.
Thousands of people died that night and ever since, children in the city have been born with serious deformities.
Mark, a supporter and founder member of FC United of Manchester, will be re-establishing links between the club and the Bhopal Medical Appeal, set up to raise funds to help the survivors of the disaster.
The BMA was FC United’s main sponsor in its first season and even wrote a curry recipe - the Bhopali Chicken FC United Wallah - specially for the club, using the match day programmes to tell a whole new audience about the disaster. In return, fans raised money for the appeal and sent two complete kits to Bhopal where a new children’s team, FC United of Bhopal, was established.
Now Mark, 51, who has three children and volunteers help for FC United’s Juniors section and its Development Fund, is taking a set of FC United shirts to Bhopal.
They will be given to children who have been treated in a recently-built clinic that helps people affected by the disaster.
"I went on holiday to India in 2000 and fell in love with the place," said Mark. "To me, Bhopal is linked with FC United and I’m taking the shirts for the children in Bhopal, who have very little - so they know people on the other side of the world are looking out for them and thinking of them.
"We had a great response from fellow supporters who donated money to pay for the kit and I’d like to thank everyone who helped - I hope the children will be excited to receive the shirts."
In addition, FC United is holding a fundraising curry night at Veena’s in Heywood on December 2nd in aid of the BMA. Tickets cost £15 with £5 being donated to the charity. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit www.fc-utd.co.uk.
Mark O'Rourke at Gigg Lane with FC shirt.