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World Cup glamour comes to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 10:01 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:04 02 July 2010

Quinton Fortune playing for Manchester United against Norwich

Quinton Fortune playing for Manchester United against Norwich

Steve Downes

The glitz and glamour of the 2010 World Cup is coming to Norwich later this month.

Norfolk-based organisation Rainbow Nations is bringing South Africa skipper and Portsmouth midfielder Aaron Mokoena and former Manchester United star Quinton Fortune to an event at County Hall and Hellesdon High School.

The glitz and glamour of the 2010 World Cup is coming to Norwich later this month.

Norfolk-based organisation Rainbow Nations is bringing South Africa skipper and Portsmouth midfielder Aaron Mokoena and former Manchester United star Quinton Fortune to an event at County Hall and Hellesdon High School.

At County Hall on Martineau Lane on April 21, UK dignitaries will meet high-ranking South African officials and host a lunch.

Afterwards there will be a World Cup celebration at Hellesdon High on Middletons Lane. Pupils will represent the 32 nations competing in the event, which begins on June 11 in Johannesburg.

Football teams from 20 schools that have supported the Rainbow Nations initiative of building bridges through sport will get a chance to show what they can do on the field.

There will also be a performance for the opening ceremony on the day by Passion Productions.

Rainbow Nations founder, Amalia Hendricks, a South African who has settled in Norfolk, said the event was part of a project to use global sporting events like the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics to build bridges between communities.

The World Cup day is intended to build stronger links between Norfolk and Gauteng province in South Africa, home to both Johannesburg and Soweto.

Rainbow Nations intends to take seven teams of seven young people from Norfolk to South Africa to share a variety of opportunities, including the excitement of the World Cup.

They will be hosted by Rainbow Nations South Africa and government and public sector agencies. Norfolk Motor Group is the first company to pledge its support by sponsoring a team of seven students to go the World Cup. Rainbow Nations UK is appealing to six companies to follow its lead.

The second phase will be when the London Olympics takes place in 2012 and a similar number of people from Gauteng communities will be invited to Norfolk to join a number of activities and experience the Games.

Mrs Hendricks said: “At a time when the United Kingdom is welcoming an array of new communities to its shores, there are clear parallels between Norfolk's endeavours to accommodate social change and the struggle for social integration that is fundamental to South Africa's current nation-building process.”

Daniel Cox, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Aaron Mokoena and the South African officials to County Hall. We share their ambitions to raise the achievements of children and young people, celebrate our diverse communities and promote participation in sport.”

t Is sport making a difference to your community? Call Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk.

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