Volunteers kicking goals in India

KOLKATA-BOUND: Matt Vitiritti, Dale Caldwell, Bruce Claridge, Paula Shay and Mark Snell. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
KOLKATA-BOUND: Matt Vitiritti, Dale Caldwell, Bruce Claridge, Paula Shay and Mark Snell. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

A team of Bendigo umpires, footballers, support staff and a trainer from Golden Square FNC are heading to India on January 2 to take on much of the responsibility of running the AFL India National Championships.

This initiative, now in its fourth year, is the part of the vision of Golden Square FNC chaplain Bruce Claridge.

Claridge has worked to provide an opportunity for Bendigo FNL and other local clubs to help the under privileged of India through football.

“The championships have been transformed in the way they are now run because of the leadership and support of the Bendigo teams,’’ Claridge said.

“This has been especially evidenced by the umpiring standards being raised significantly due to the Bendigo Umpires Association.

“This year two women from the Macorna Football and Netball Club are also joining the team to introduce netball to some of the young girls rescued from the red light districts of Kolkata.”

The group travelling to India is: Bruce Claridge, Jake Donegan, Amanda Smith, Shannyn Smith, Adam Symons and Bill Wilkinson (Golden Square FNC); Paula Shay, Mark Snell, Dale Caldwell and Matthew Vitiritti (BUA), Paul Byrne (BFNL), Jo Bear, Natalie Goudie and Archie Bear (Macorna FNC), Geoff Scown and Angela Geach (Connect Church, Bendigo).