Big-hearted Motherwell fan whose African adventure was inspired by award-winning movie set to return

A Motherwell fan who transported nearly a tonne of football equipment to Zambia to help underprivileged children is set to do it all again.

Scott McClure was inspired to launch Pepe’s Zambia Football Foundation after watching a movie.

That led to him travelling out to Zambia in March to distribute 950 kilos of football equipment to school children.

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The 43-year-old decided to set up the project after watching the lead character in a film exchange his football shirt.

Scott revealed: “You will probably think I’m a nut job but I watched The Last King of Scotland and had a wee light bulb moment and thought I want to do something like that.”

Scott with local children from Mukuni

In the movie fellow-Scot James McAvoy plays the role of medic Nicholas Garrigan who swaps his Scotland top with the Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin.

Scott, who lives on the Ravenscraig housing estate, started off by filling a suitcase with used football shirts and kits, he ended up with 950kg of stuff.

“I shipped it all over in suitcases on a pallet,” he continued. “The people over there then used the suitcases for storage.

“Now that I’ve been [to Zambia] and seen the difference it’s made I’m arranging to go back out.

“It’s kind of taking over my life to an extent, but in a good way. It’s been unbelievable.

The Motherwell man also brought items for the children to use in their school work

“I’m in a Liverpool supporters’ club as well as being a Motherwell fan and they raised a few grand through raffles and stuff.

“I also raised money through football memorabilia and ended up with about £10,000.

“Before I went out to Africa I had a drive on at Tesco and was given a whole set of Motherwell Hummel kits from 1992 in kids sizes. The village I’ve been working in is called Mukuni and they’re changing the name of their local football team to Motherwell Mukuni. There are wee boys now going to school in Motherwell strips in this bit of Zambia.”

The Mukuni team in their Motherwell strips

Pupils at St Brendan’s Primary and Our Lady and St Francis Primary in Carfin helped boost his fundraising efforts, contributing around £700 in total. Last week he returned to St Brendan’s to give a presentation of his time in Zambia and explain how the money was used.

“We organised a football tournament in Zambia when I was there with 12 teams,” Scott added. “One of the teams turned up in a horse and cart. The kids make footballs out of plastic bags and string so we bought new balls. I brought a string ball to the school presentation that they had made. I wanted to show the school kids here what their money is being spent on.”

Gillian Mackay MSP was delighted to join Scott at the school for the presentation.

Scott with Gillian Mackay MSP on their recent visit to St Brendan’s Primary

She said: “It was lovely to visit St. Brendan’s last week and to talk at their school assembly alongside Scott from Pepe’s Zambia Football Foundation.

“I previously lodged a motion in parliament to congratulate Scott on the fantastic work the Foundation has done to provide children in Zambia with football strips and equipment, and to recognise the contribution local schools, including St. Brendan’s, played through their fundraising.

“I wish Scott all the best for his future work and look forward to liaising with both St Brendan’s Primary and the Foundation going forward.”

A number of Lanarkshire businesses have also supported Scott. GCN in Gowkthrapple helped with storage and palleting, and Paterson’s Trophies donated the silverware for the football tournament.

Mukuni village already has strong links to Lanarkshire, it is close to the Victoria Falls which were named by David Livingstone.

Scott is now planning to strengthen his own bond with a return trip, this time with a 20ft container full of football equipment and other items.

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