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Since 1st March, 1999
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Bhaichung bonhomie for hills

Darjeeling, June 12: The Darjeeling hills voted when Bhaichung Bhutia needed it most. This time the footballer has come forward to help the hills.

The captain of the Indian soccer team has decided to donate four of his jerseys and 10 signed footballs to the Bhaichung Fan Club in Darjeeling for an auction to raise funds for relief to the people in the hills.

The club had been set up to help Bhaichung win a television dance reality show. His team had received the maximum number of text messages in his favour making them the winner.

“After his victory he wanted to come to Darjeeling to thank the people for the support. He has also decided to donate four football jerseys and 10 signed footballs so that money can be raised for relief work,” said Lakpa Sherpa, the convener of the fan club.

“Bhaichung has always been very close to the hill people,” said Lakpa, who is currently the coach-cum-player of the Bengal police’s north brigade team. Lakpa and Bhaichung had started their football career playing along at Sikkim Boy’s Club. Lakpa joined the Peerless in 1996 and was later associated with the Mohammedan Sporting Club.

The auction will take place on Sunday at 4pm at Gymkhana Club in Darjeeling. “A lot of hoteliers and businessmen have already shown interests,” said Kesang Sherpa, the co-convener of the club.

On that day, Bhaichung and other former footballers from Darjeeling will be felicitated. But the organisers have scaled down the show in memory of the 28 people who had died in the recent landslides. “We had planned a major event but given the recent tragedy the show has been scaled down,” said Tenzing Khambachay, the organiser of the show.

In recent memory, this is the first time that Bhaichung is coming here for a public event. “Another well-known footballer Reneddy Singh will also be accompanying Bhutia to Darjeeling,” said Kesang.

Bhaichung has donated Rs 1.5 lakh to the Bengal chief minister’s relief fund of the Rs 40 lakh his team had received on winning the dance show.

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