Footballer Russell Martin was at the launch of a major anti-racist event set up by a Norwich shop worker in the city today.

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The Kick Racism out of Football event was the brainchild of Brian Lewis, 52, who spent four months planning it after growing tired of listening to the racist remarks of colleagues.

Mr Lewis, a grandfather of two, moved from Middlesbrough to Carbrooke, near Watton, in Norfolk in 2010.

His passion to stamp out racism in football was first inspired by a chat with ex-England and Watford player Luther Blissett.

He said: “Speaking to Luther I realised that in the past I had been unintentionally racist. Some of the language I used and stereotypes I’d grown up believing I can see now were totally unacceptable. Going back to work later I heard racist remarks against Polish people, black people and others and I realised I needed to be doing something.”

The event, which was held outside Morrisons in Riverside, where Mr Lewis works, was supported by Norwich City Council, Norwich South parliamentary candidate, Clive Lewis and Norwich Mayor Ralph Gayton.

Norwich City’s chief executive David McNally was unable to attend, and was replaced by defender Russell Martin.

He said: “The issue of racism in football has been highlighted with some recent events which should not have happened. It’s important to get it stamped out of football.”

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