Merseyside Galvanizing has seen one of its employees travel to Northern Ireland to meet the country’s most influential figures, in a bid to encourage youngsters away from gun crime.
Gary Drohan, Operations Controller at the Liverpool-based plant, made the trip as a member of a football team set up in association with the Rhys Jones Foundation, launched following the tragic shooting of the youngster in Croxteth in 2007.
The delegation was invited to host a football tournament for youngsters across Belfast, one of many sporting tournaments held every year to promote the motto – ‘Join a team not a gang’.
Commenting on the trip, Gary said: “The aim of the Foundation is to get the message across to youngsters that to be in a gang is not cool, and instead, they should put on a pair of football boots, pick up a golf club or a tennis racket, and enjoy their youth while it lasts.
"We regularly travel across the UK to try and reach as many children as possible and endeavour to teach them to respect their peers and elders, and to understand the importance of a good education so that they don’t become embroiled in crime and violence.
“We hope that by hosting this football tournament, we have reached the hearts and minds of the hundreds of teenagers from across Belfast who took part, and that they went away with some really positive messages. If we can prevent the death of just one more child by getting guns off the streets then our efforts will have been worthwhile.
“Since visiting Northern Ireland, the team has also been asked to fly out to Germany to play against Cologne’s youth team at the famous Cologne stadium, which is such a coup for us and really shows that our message is getting across to those in Europe as well as the UK.”