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A Stornoway man who fell ill in Cuba is sending more than 100 football strips to kids in the country to give thanks

Donald MacLeod and Hugo Rivalta, a Cuban film director who is in Glasgow for the Havana Glasgow Film Festival. He’s a former footballer and is taking strips back to Havana to be given out to Cuban youngsters
Donald MacLeod and Hugo Rivalta, a Cuban film director who is in Glasgow for the Havana Glasgow Film Festival. He’s a former footballer and is taking strips back to Havana to be given out to Cuban youngsters

A Stornoway man who suffered a bout of ill health on holiday is paying back the kindness of strangers by sending more than 100 football strips to children in Cuba.

Donald “Donnie Maroot” Macleod will make sure the many football strips he has been donated will be given to the children who play football on the streets in the country’s capital.

Mr Macleod, explains: “I was over in Havana in September and I was blown away by the beauty of the country.

“When I was there I got a stomach bug. For a few days all I survived on was Fanta.”

Mr Macleod, who was travelling alone, said: “On the third day I knew I would have to try and eat something so I went to a café and ordered soup.

“But there was just no way I could eat it. When the owners found out they got medicine for me, and from then on looked out for me. I was very, very grateful.

“People in Havana seem very, very happy: but they are also very poor.

“I didn’t know how I was going to be able to repay the kindness of all these strangers until I saw the children playing football on the street.

“I had 10 football strips with me, so I washed them and took them out onto the street to dry them.

“One boy approached me and asked me for one, and I gave them away.

“When I came home I decided that I realised I had two drawers full of football strips and that I would never wear them all.

“I started an appeal for football strips – I got lots of Rangers strips, and Celtic gave me some new strips but I got some from all over the world. I had Roma, Barcelona, strips from Malta even some from Ross County.”

Mr Macleod has now brought his appeal for strips to an end, and has used the Glasgow Havana Film Festival taking place in the city this week to begin to hand over some of the strips.

He said: “I am hoping that all the strips will get back to Havana – and if anyone is going across and could take some strips I would be delighted if they would get in touch on 07900 512 614.

“My mum and dad are coming to stay and their bedroom is full of football strips.”

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