England fan's bid to break football shirt record

Image caption,
Mr Walley already has 600 football shirts sewn together

An England fan is trying to break the world record for creating the largest football shirt.

Justin Walley, 39, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, is appealing to fans, players and clubs to donate shirts, which will be stitched together to make one huge top.

He has 600 so far but needs about 2,000 to break the current record of 71.35m by 79.15m (234ft 1in by 259ft 8in).

A number of Premier League teams have donated shirts.

Mr Walley, who is in South Africa after cycling there from Kenya ready for the World Cup, said Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Sunderland football clubs had taken part.

'Unite' symbol

Four World Cup teams, Serbia, South Africa, Netherlands and Germany, have promised to donate shirts signed by their squad, he said.

The Northampton Town supporter is trying to raise awareness of the work carried out by UNHCR, the United Nation's refugee agency.

Mr Walley said any kind of football shirt, from Sunday league to Premier League, would be used.

"I hope a lot of football fans will come out to the World Cup and bring out shirts for us," Mr Walley said.

Image caption,
Justin Walley cycled and hitchhiked from Kenya to South Africa

So far, more than 600 shirts have been sewn together to make one large shirt, which was displayed at the South African cup final in May.

Mr Walley, a freelance photojournalist currently working in Latvia, said the project was designed to raise awareness rather than to directly raise money.

"We hope the football shirt will be a symbol of the football community coming together, uniting to help refugees," he said.

"I hope by increasing awareness, people will take more interest in these people and will contribute money themselves without us asking them."

Mr Walley, who is staying in Johannesburg, cycled from Kenya to South Africa after joining his friend, Bjorn Heidenstrom, who was en route from his home in Norway on an 11-month biking challenge.

The pair are appealing for any fans travelling to South Africa for the World Cup to bring the football shirts they wish to donate out with them.

Anyone not travelling to South Africa are urged to visit Mr Walley's blog to find a postal address.

The current world record for the largest football shirt was set in Istanbul, Turkey, in April last year by Avea, the country's mobile telephone operator, Guinness World Records said.

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