Footy-mad Sunderland fans in stars and stripes

SUNDERLAND FANS: Left to right: Lauren Sampson, Barry Reeves, Kevin Sampson, Matthew Sampson and Martin Elliott in Virginia.
SUNDERLAND FANS: Left to right: Lauren Sampson, Barry Reeves, Kevin Sampson, Matthew Sampson and Martin Elliott in Virginia.
0
Have your say

A TRIO of Rolls-Royce employees have started work at the firm’s new multimillion-pound plant in America.

Kevin Sampson, Barry Reeves and Martin Elliott recently moved from the company’s site in Pallion to its North America factory in Petersburg, Virginia.

Rolls-Royce is investing £110million in the new 180,000 sq ft facility, which manufactures discs for some of the firm’s most advanced civil aerospace engines.

But despite the switch stateside, they still wear their red and white shirts with pride, even sporting an SAFC personalised licence plate on their car.

Kevin, 46, who relocated with wife Elaine, 45, son Matthew, 19, and daughter Lauren, 14, said: “We have all been lifelong supporters of SAFC.”

Despite the distance and time difference, Elaine, from Chapelgarth, said the family still keep up with their club’s games.

“Our son Matthew had a season ticket until we left for America,” she said. “We have made sure we can still get the Premiership games as we have the Fox Soccer channel.

“We came back to England on holiday in August which fitted in nicely for the derby game, despite the result.”

Earlier this year, they took up their new training positions.

Barry, 39, whose wife Joanne, 40, is expected to join her husband in the U.S. in the coming weeks, said the friends have helped support each other through the upheaval of leaving their homeland.

“We have supported each other in adapting to the cultural changes and we have had a lot of support from American friends we have made,” said Barry, from Houghton. “The people here are very positive and very friendly.”

Martin, 46, from Cleadon, is settling in to his new life across the Atlantic with wife Susan and son Mark, 17.

“The climate and the hot weather is similar to southern Spain, so we have really enjoyed the summer, going to the pool regularly,” said

“Fuel is only £2 a gallon so it means you can travel around a lot more as there is so much to see and do here.

“Virginia is a very central state.

“To the north we have Washington and New York, to the left we have the mountains, to the right we have Virginia Beach, and to the south we have Florida.”

Twitter:@sunderlandecho