Once-in-a-lifetime football match - Mumbai vs Minchinhampton

A group of 14 boys from one of the most underprivileged areas of the world visited Beaudesert Park School in Gloucestershire as part of a two week football and education tour thanks to a huge fundraising effort by the school.

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20th October 2017 — A football match against the Beaudesert Park School pupils was one of the many highlights of the trip and was featured widely across regional TV news programmes and newspapers.  The OSCAR team continued their unbeaten run on the tour to beat the Beaudesert team 2:1!  

The boys were from Mumbai, and part of the OSCAR Foundation - a non-profit organisation that supports and mentors the most vulnerable young people in the slums across India. Patron of OSCAR, Lucinda Sowerbutts, conceived and organised the tour having met OSCAR’s founder Ashok Rathod in 2015 while working for an NGO in India.

The two week UK football, education and culture tour was designed to give the children a better understanding of how education and community involvement can provide them with alternatives to life on the street. It is hoped that they will help spread this message when they get home to Mumbai.

James Womersley, Headmaster at Beaudesert, commented; “Being involved in helping make the OSCAR tour happen, and then hosting the children and the adults with them, was very fulfilling and a lot of fun for us here at Beaudesert. Our own pupils, their parents and our staff really got behind the fundraising and the planning that needed to happen to make the boys’ time with us here in Minchinhampton as rewarding and nurturing as possible. They were a real pleasure to host. We hope that now they've returned to India they have done so with new-found enthusiasm for the value of education and happy memories to last a lifetime.”

Beaudesert is one of five UK schools which fundraised for 18 months to raise enough money to provide this life-changing experience for their Under 14 counterparts. The tour took the boys to London, Manchester, Gloucestershire, Surrey and Suffolk to visit all five schools as well as take in a host of other experiences including a trip on the London Eye, accompanying musical icon Elaine Paige to The Lion King, a visit to Windsor Park, a Go Ape encounter and a Chelsea Football Club training session. The grand finale was a visit to Manchester United FC, by invitation of Juan Mata.

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Beaudesert Park School (Coed 4-13) is a day and boarding school in Gloucestershire.

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