The Premier League is one of the UK’s biggest exports and fans from all over the globe are a common sight at elite football grounds in England.
Ken Narita followed the well-worn path, travelling almost 6,000 miles from his home in rural Okayama, Japan, to attend three Premier League matches this week. But he wasn’t there to catch a glimpse of football stars – he was headed to stadiums to help out at football supporters’ foodbanks instead.
Former Northumbria University student Ken first travelled to Newcastle last Saturday as the Toon Army defeated Chelsea 1-0. While he did watch the match from the stands at St James’ Park, he was really in town to help out with Big Issue Changemaker NUFC Fans’ Foodbank.
The next day he made the trip to Anfield to volunteer with another Big Issue Changemaker Fans Supporting Foodbanks as Liverpool took on Manchester United.
And, not content with seeing the Red Devils lose in Liverpool, he then headed to Old Trafford on Wednesday to complete his hat-trick, adding an extra pair of hands to MUFC Fans’ Foodbanks’ efforts.
Ken, 41, told The Big Issue: “Two years ago I started a foodbank in Japan and I found that there are only 100 foodbanks in Japan compared to more than 1,000 in the UK. For me, that shows that people care for each other so I decided to come to this country.