More than 300 items of Norwich City kit set to be flown to Syrian Canaries
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of Norwich City fans have answered the call for kit from their Syrian counterparts.
So far City supporters have donated more than 300 items of clothing to the Canaries Trust's Shirts for Syria campaign.
It started last week, when the trust called on fans to bring their old kit to Carrow Road at home matches against Manchester City and Crystal Palace to be sent to the Canaries' 600-strong Syrian supporters group.
Now, the Canaries Trust has collected a huge amount of kit including 247 football shirts.
This week they laid out the shirts on the terraces at Carrow Road.
Alistair Steward, who has overseen the campaign, said: "Yesterday we laid out 247 shirts, but that's in addition to about 20 or 30 to come.
"We have 50 other items of clothing we didn't lay out including scarfs, socks, and ten coats, most people might wonder why you'd need a coat but if you look at Syrian weather now you'll realise it's a country of extremes.
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"We've also raised £250 cash to buy kit from On The Stall City which we'll keep open, but we've stopped clothing donations.
"We're in touch with charities to find an efficient way of transporting the shirts to Syria as it is quite difficult.
"We hope we've found an organisation who we can latch on to and get the stuff in legitimately."
The call even reached the club offices with sporting director Stuart Webber donating some of his kit to Syria.
Mr Steward said the trust was "bowled over" by support for the campaign.
He added: "It's so humbling seeing how many people have turned up to drop off bags and also On The Stall City have been fabulous.
"Not forgetting support from the club, Zoe and Stuart have been fantastic.
"You wouldn't get that at many other clubs and it shows when they say they are a community club they mean it."
The shirts will now be sent to Lakatia City, home of the Syrian Canaries, where the group's founder Ali Zartit says following city "helps us forget the hard times here".
Mr Steward described the group as "true supporters".
He said: "Anyone who looks at their social media can see what this club means to them."
Anyone wishing to donate to the campaign should visit: https://www.canariestrust.org/shirtsforsyria
City's Syrian superfans
Founded by Ali Zartit, the Syrian Canaries are bucking the trend in their country by shunning Liverpool and Manchester City to back the Canaries from almost 3,000 miles away.
But with international trade in the country proving difficult due to an ongoing civil war, the 600 odd supporters have never been able to get their hands on city merchandise, meaning they had to draw their own Canary badge.
Mr Zartit told the Evening News: "I founded the Norwich City fans association in Syria, which has gained popularity since its inception.
"One of our goals is to introduce the Syrian public to Norwich and change the stereotyped image of supporting the big clubs and now we are gradually growing up and increasing our numbers.
"I liked the club so much and thought I'd share it with all the fans here."