When Natalie Buchanan of Army Bay went to replace her son’s rugby boots recently, she remembered a family holiday in Fiji a few years ago when she saw children training in bare feet.
“None of the kids kicking that rugby ball around had boots on, and it stuck in my mind,” Natalie says. “We were heading to Fiji again, so I decided to see if a club there wanted my son’s old boots, and whether we could gather any more donated boots for them.”
The response to her post on Facebook was overwhelming, with around 50 pairs of second hand rugby boots and seven balls donated. Silverdale Rugby Club also donated a pile of rugby jerseys.
Natalie made contact with the Nadroga Rugby Union in Sigatoka and the gear will be given to them this month.
“The Fijians love their rugby and we always have a great holiday there,” Natalie says. “This is a way of giving back and saying thank you to them for sharing their slice of heaven with visitors like us. We’re also taking a bit of the Coast with us – it’s great that Fijian kids will be running around wearing Silverdale Rugby Club jerseys!”
Natalie says she knows that some local families also struggle to afford rugby gear. She has suggested to clubs such as Silverdale Rugby club and Raiders League club that they consider having a box where you can put boots that are no longer needed, and anyone can take them to wear.