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Soccer granny wins UK trip

By BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-03-31 18:13

Soccer granny wins UK trip

Granny Liu Hongwen poses with memorabilia wearing her Arsenal shirt. [China Daily] 

A 79-year-old grandmother from Beijing will be taking a dream soccer trip to the UK after she was named China's biggest English Premier League fan.

Liu Hongwen, also known as Granny Liu, was picked out of more than 600 entries in a competition organized by official UK tourist body VisitBritain in partnership with the English Premier League and Chinese broadcaster SuperSports.

To win the soccer prize, people had to submit videos explaining why they are China's biggest Premier League fan and the winner was decided through a public online vote in China.

And it was Granny Liu who clinched the top prize after showing her love for the beautiful game and securing more than a quarter of the 32,800 votes.

The 79-year-old Arsenal fan is set to arrive in Britain on Friday for a soccer-themed trip including VIP seats at an Arsenal vs Manchester City match. She will also get a post-match meet-and-greet with the players as well as VIP tours of the Emirates Stadium in London, the home of the Gunners, and a visit to the Arsenal training ground in Hertfordshire.

Clare Mullin, VisitBritain marketing director, said: "The Premier League has a global fan base of billions and lifelong fan Granny Liu personifies the passion and loyalty that the beautiful game inspires."

Mullin added: "We are thrilled to be bringing Granny Liu to Britain, the home of football, to experience the amazing moments that can only be had here, from attending a match and exploring our vibrant football cities to walking in the footsteps of heroes on a stadium tour."

Earlier this month, VisitBritain launched a similar competition to find the US' biggest English Premier League fan. It's all part of the "Football is GREAT" campaign to encourage visitors to travel to the UK and attend top-flight soccer matches as a way to get tourists to explore more of regional Britain.

According to the tourism body, more than 800,000 international visitors attended a Premier League soccer match during their UK visit in 2014.


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