Diehard Derry ‘Man U’ fan, Keith Norris, will drape his iconic ‘Big Lily’ supporters’ club flag over an Old Trafford hotel built by Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, the Neville brothers, and Nicky Butt, as part of his ongoing campaign to raise £300,000 for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The Drumahoe-native wants 116,000 people to digitally sign the flag, which has adorned the Stretford End at Old Trafford since 1999, in order to raise money for the children’s charity.
On Saturday morning ‘Big Lily’ will be draped from Hotel Football - the venue built by Class of ‘92 stars Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
Keith’s also hired a plane to fly over Old Trafford during Saturday’s home match with Bournemouth, trailing a huge banner reading: JUST SIGN IT @SIGNBIGLILY.COM
Supporters are asked to go to www.mybiglily.com and donate a minimum of £3.
Each person who donates and signs will receive a free ‘My Big Lily’- Manchester United’s Biggest Supporter’ eBook and a certificate signed by United legend Paddy Crerand, a friend of Keith’s and supporter of the ‘United Supporters 4 UNICEF project’.
The ‘Big Lily’ concept was derived from the Orange Lily (Protestant) and Easter Lily (Catholic) and was conceived by two ‘Man U’ supporters from different backgrounds - Keith, and the late Martin Cleary - who were united by their love for the Red Devils.
Keith, aged 49, and who now lives in Carrickfergus, said: “‘Big Lily’ is, and always will be, a symbol of peace, friendship and unity. The reaction and smile on people’s faces when they raise her above their heads or stand and have a picture taken is enduring and priceless. I receive emails from all over the world wanting to learn more of United’s ‘Big Lily’.”
“Whilst this is a fans’ initiative, we’ve been overwhelmed by the help and guidance from United legends Paddy Crerand and Gary Neville, John Shiels and his team at the Manchester United Foundation. MUFC Managing Director, Richard Arnold unstintingly gave his invaluable advice and support, including permission to use the Big Lily MUTV documentary on the signbiglily.com website. Furthermore, the club promised us their full media support. Fundamentally, Manchester United’s backing of this fans’ project is crucial to the success in raising and delivering essential financial support for children in danger around the world.
“This unprecedented partnership between the club, worldwide supporters and United’s Big Lily promises to galvanise the global united family in a unique manner. My personal quest is serve the memory of Martin ‘Faceman’ Cleary, my sadly departed best friend, co - founder of ‘Big Lily’ Project.”
United legend Paddy Crerand said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be part of the Manchester United’s world wide supporters initiative with Big Lily to raise £300,000 plus for children in danger around the world in aid of UNICEF.
“United supporters are known the world-over for their generosity and willingness to help others in need. Let’s show the world the caring side of football! If we each donate just £3, we can make a huge difference to the lives of young children who are in desperate circumstances through no fault of their own.”