YOUNGSTERS in Africa will be able to enjoy football after dark thanks to a generous donation from a Darwen firm.
Engineers at Camera Tower Engineering, off Marsh House Lane, have agreed to make 12 floodlights for soccer pitches in Gambia.
The scheme is part of the annual Football Gambia trips, organised by youth football club Darwen Spartans, which sees vital projects delivered alongside football coaching in the poverty-hit country.
Brian Turner, owner of the firm at Marsh House Mill, Brussels Road, said that along with his son, Ryan, an apprentice at the firm, he would travel to Gambia next year to fit the new floodlights.
He said: “Mark Atkinson from Darwen Spartans approached us and it turned out that what they were looking for is what we do.
“We are doing it for free and it will cost a couple of thousand pounds.
“We will do all the steelwork here and then take it to the container for them to be shipped across.
“Then we are going over there next year to install them.”
Camera Tower Engineering has been in the town for a decade and mainly manufactures lamp-posts for CCTV towers.
Mr Turner said most of the work would be done by 18-year-old Ryan as part of his apprenticeship.
He said: “He will do all the cutting and fabrication. This is something we have always wanted to do and when it came up we thought, ‘yes, we will have a go at that’.”
Bosses at Darwen Spartans have already started raising cash for their trip next January. It will be the fourth time coaches from the club have flown out with the Football Gambia charity.
Through the partnership, Darwen was officially twinned with Lamin, in Gambia, at a ceremony earlier this year.
Darwen Spartans president Mark Atkinson said: “The floodlights will be the main project when we go out this time, although we will be finishing off the medical centre and taking some supplies over.
“Over there they have nothing to do when it goes dark and during the day it is blistering heat, so this means they can host football and other events under the lights.
“Without the co-operation of local firms like Camera Tower Engineering, these projects would not go ahead.”