A GROUP of Darreners will carry out essential building works in a Gambian city later this month.

The team of nine, led by Darwen Spartans Junior Football Club’s president Mark Atkinson, will head to Lamin on January 17.

They will spend a fortnight in the poverty-stricken area for the trip, which will also include the official twinning ceremony between Darwen and Lamin on January 24.

Darwen Spartans has teamed up with charity Football Gambia for the past few years, organising the trips where they carry out work while also coaching the locals at football.

It was through a trip last year that the twinning, endorsed by Darwen Town Council, was agreed.

Mr Atkinson said: “We are more or less ready now and have got most of our meds and equipment sorted.

“All the equipment needed for the jobs we are doing out there have been shipped over already.”

Mr Atkinson said the group would be working on four key projects during the trip.

He said: “We are putting in a field irrigation system, a rainwater harvesting system using lots of drains to catch water during their rain season, installing a generator to power the mains electricity and installing solar-powered lighting for the medical centre.

“These are all pioneer projects which, if successful, could be extended into other villages and towns in the area.

“All the equipment for these jobs has been sourced locally in Darwen.”

Mr Atkinson said preparations in Gambia were well under way for the twinning ceremony.

He said: “It is a fantastic thing for them and could be absolutely massive.

“There could be hundreds turning out for the big party, and even the president of Gambia might be coming.”

An event to coincide with the twinning is being organised at Number 39 Hopstar Brewery Tap in Bridge Street, with Darwen Music Projects chief Gary Ward organising African bands to perform on the night.