Millionaire SNP donor Colin Weir gives backing to small football charity in Africa

He won £161m on the EuroMillions lottery, donated millions to the SNP, poured cash into Patrick Thistle football club, and bought a stately pile in Largs, but now Colin Weir is hoping his money can help children in Zambia.

EuroMillions winner Colin Weir is supporting Scottish charity Africa on the Ball which aims to build the best community team in the world in Zambia, Kalingalinga FC near Lusaka.

The philanthropist, who along with his former wife Chris established The Weir Trust and also runs The Colin Weir Foundation, has made a "significant donation" to small charity Africa on the Ball.

A Scottish based organisation, Africa on the Ball uses football to promote health and wellbeing, community development, gender equality and education through its boys and girls teams in Kalingalinga, Lusaka.

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The financial award of £15,000 is the largest single donation received by the charity since its was set up six years ago.

Aiming to build the “best community sports club in the world”, Africa on the Ball has helped found Kalingalinga on the Ball FC, a community-owned club which has already enjoyed success on the pitch, being promoted several times.

The club is run by an elected council and has pledged that any transfer fees are reinvested for the community’s benefit. An educational scholarship fund is also in place to help players to finish their basic schooling, as well as a food programme which ensures they are fed before games.

The charity has also formed an outreach programme which sees Kalingalinga’s players carry out football training and educational sessions in disadvantaged communities, including the local orphanage and primary schools.

Co-founder and trustee Andrew Jenkin, said: “We are so grateful to Colin and his team at the Foundation for this incredibly generous donation. As a small charity which relies entirely on volunteers, it will have a huge impact on our work.

“We’ve been fundraising to send a shipping container full of kit and equipment and other things the community have asked for to Kalingalinga and the donation will allow us to do that and more.”

The grant follows the launch earlier in the year of the Africa on the Ball Supporters Club, which enables donors to stay in touch with the charity’s activities in Scotland and Zambia and offers a range of benefits.

The shipping container is expected to be in Kalingalinga early in the new year, where it will be converted into a base for the teams and a resource for the broader community, including a library.

A spokesman for The Colin Weir Foundation said: “Mr Weir was impressed by the work done on a small budget and felt that Africa on the Ball merited the Foundation’s support to expand its work. He believes in the principle that football is a power for good and this project embodies that philosophy.”