Jacksonville Jaguars host sleepover for 100 children at Wembley Stadium

L to R: Devon Kuffour, 12, Angel Baptista, 9, and Jessica Kwayie, 11

L to R: Devon Kuffour, 12, Angel Baptista, 9, and Jessica Kwayie, 11 - Credit: Archant

An American football team treated 100 children to a sleepover in Wembley Stadium and gave away free beds over the weekend.

L to R: Angel Baptista, nine, and Devon Kuffour, 12, from Wembley

L to R: Angel Baptista, nine, and Devon Kuffour, 12, from Wembley - Credit: Archant

Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the event and giveaway as part of their ‘A Hope to Dream’ programme helping the most underprivileged youngsters in the city.

The NFL team donated a bed to more than half the children at the sleepover who live in a home without their own with the remaining ones given to children’s charity Kids Company, who provide practical, emotional and educational support for vulnerable children.

The organisation will pass them on to youngsters in need of a new bed.

Children at the sleepover met Jaguars’ mascot Jaxson de Vill and were also treated to a tour of the stadium, a film with popcorn and a dance party with the ROAR, the team’s professional cheerleaders.

Jessica Kwayie, 11, from Wembley

Jessica Kwayie, 11, from Wembley - Credit: Archant

Evelyn Ashton, from Wembley, whose three children Devon Kuffour, 12, Angel Baptista, nine, and Jessica Kwayie, 11, all received beds delivered to their home by Jaxson and the ROAR.

She said: “It has been a really fantastic weekend and I think I was as excited as the children at the sleepover. It was really good and we can’t thank everyone enough for what they have done for us.

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Shahid Khan, the owner of both Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC, said: “We believe that every child has the right to their own bed. It’s the last place they go at night and the first place they wake up in the morning. It’s a place of comfort and security and that’s something that no child should be without.

“We’ve seen the benefits of A Hope to Dream in Jacksonville and, with our partners Ashley Furniture, we were so excited to bring it impact in London, our second home.”

Michael Towned, nine, from Neasden

Michael Towned, nine, from Neasden - Credit: Archant

The Jaguars have close links with London as they have agreed to play one home game a season in the city until at least 2016.

Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, attended the sleepover and spoke to some of the parents about the difficulties they face.

He said: This project will make a massive long-term difference to all the families involved as well as giving them a sleepover that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

“I am sure they had a great time on the night and the children will benefit enormously from the beds donated by the sponsors”.

Related link: Jacksonville Jaguars to host sleepover for underprivileged children at Wembley Stadium

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