Football Shirts For Charity opens store at Festival Place

A NEW shop selling new, retro and vintage football shirts to raise money for cancer charities has opened at Festival Place.

Football Shirts For Charity will sell new and used football shirts in its three-month pop-up shop which opened on October 10 on the upper level of the mall.

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The store was designed by fellow football fans and colleagues Jayme Sporton and Tania Harding who decided to do something to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

The couple were touched by cancer in people very close to them and saw an opportunity to do something to make a difference by selling football shirts to raise money for the Bobby Moore Fund and Cancer Research UK.

Shirts have been donated by people around the world, from international teams to local non-league teams, and Festival Place customers are also encouraged to drop off a pre-loved kit which can be resold in the shop.

All profits are donated to the two cancer charities.

Jayme and Tania work together as education consultants, but their work has dried up during the Covid-19 shutdowns, prompting them to think of other things to occupy their time.

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Jayme, a 49-year-old father of two from Basingstoke, wanted to do something to raise money for cancer after his friend died of bowel cancer.

“I wanted to do something to honor his name,” he explained, adding: “I had a passion for football shirts and thought ‘what can I do to combine the two?’ We put out requests and people started sending us shirts and it just exploded from there.

Tania, 44, from Alton, said football has always been a big part of her life and it’s a passion she shares with her father.

When his father was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 42, he had less than a 15% chance of survival.

“Dad and I took comfort in watching games together,” she said, adding; “Although it is very traumatic, we are grateful every day that he survived cancer.”

Although her father was one of the lucky ones, Tania’s life was once again affected by cancer when she lost a college friend, Caroline, to the disease.

Tania said her personal cancer experiences inspired her to support cancer charities.

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The colleagues are now hoping the Basingstoke community will support their business as they open their first physical store in Festival Place.

Jayme said the opening day was a huge success, adding: “It went incredibly well and the feedback was amazing. Everyone had told everyone and we were inundated with a lot of intrigue. Our Twitter has gone crazy. We did a bit of filming which got 17,000 views.

The pair believe every shirt has a story and the nation’s passion for football is what inspired people to get on board and support Football Shirts For Charity.

“The sight of a football shirt always brings up so many special memories and conversations,” Jayme said, adding, “Football Shirts For Charity was born out of a love of knowing the pride of securing ownership of a pre-loved, historic, retro, recent, or vintage football jersey, all while contributing to vital charities.

“We hope that people will come and buy shirts from us and also give us shirts from across the football pyramid that they no longer want or need.

“We are both absolutely thrilled with this opportunity and very grateful to Festival Place for their support in the first venture of its kind for us.”

Football Shirts For Charity has linked up with football clubs in the area, including Basingstoke, Farnham and Alton, with a special section in the shop dedicated to local clubs.

Jayme said he hopes the community will also support the charity by donating pre-loved shirts so he can continue fundraising.

“If people have pre-liked shirts that they don’t want, we’re happy to get donations, which will support us, if people are generous in donating shirts,” he said.

Festival Place center manager Neil Churchill said: “We are delighted to be able to host Football Shirts For Charity for three months here at Festival Place.

“We’re hoping they’ll get a lot of support from people coming in with shirts to donate and from people wanting to buy a retro shirt from a team they love.”

The shop will be open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations can be dropped off in store.

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