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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Football matches at mine with ball on journey to Brazil World Cup

Slate and snow provided a unique backdrop for two five-a-side football matches with a ball on an epic 30,000km journey to the World Cup.

World CUp football photo
Centre, Brazillian Joao Pedro Godoy, with Richard Brook, of WYG in Cockermouth. Joao had never seen snow before

Honister Slate Mine, near Keswick, hosted the games yesterday between Cockermouth engineering firm WYG and representatives of Spirt of Football, who have made the journey to the World Cup every year since 1998, on the side of 2,126ft Fleetwith Pike and the second in the mine.

The first match ended in a draw but the second was won by WYG 3-2.

And one member of the Spirit of Football team got more than he bargained for when he arrived in the Lake District.

Youngster Joao Pedro Godoy, from Brazil, had never seen snow before.

The ball is making a six-month journey through 26 countries including Italy, Germany, America, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru, and will arrive at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June.

The ball’s journey is football’s version of the Olympic torch relay. It left London last Thursday before heading north.

The team from Spirit of Football aim to play as many games as they can on their travels and will ask everyone who plays to sign the ball.

Jan Wilkinson, co-owner of the mine, said: “Having previously lived near Sao Paulo myself, it was really exciting to welcome this specially-made ball as it makes its epic journey to the World Cup opening ceremony.”

Tim Noble, of Mosser near Cockermouth, works for WYG and met the Spirit of Football organisers in 2002 in Uzbekistan.

Tim, who has played with them every year since, said: “Our aim is to establish the legend of the ball as a powerful symbol of the football community.

“Football is understood in every language and much like the Olympic torch relay, the ball’s pilgrimage is our way of giving people from all walks of life a taste of the World Cup.”

As part of the tour the ball also visited students at Lorton After School Club, based at Lorton School, and Borrowdale Primary School near Keswick.

Laura Garroway, play leader at Lorton After School Club, said: “We were all very excited that we got to see the ball. We’ve had a lot of the boys in our group who have been talking about it and a few of the girls have also been excited. It’s great to be part of the build-up to the World Cup.”

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