Couple gathers impressive collection of 600 soccer boots to support junior teams in the Cook Islands

A passionate soccer-loving couple from New South Wales has gathered an impressive collection of nearly 600 pairs of second-hand football boots for children in the Cook Islands.

Sharon Pascoe and Wayne Parrott, devoted fans of Central Coast Mariners, were inspired to take action after witnessing children playing soccer in Rarotonga during their visit last year.

Observing a significant delay between games, they discovered that the boys who had finished playing were generously giving their boots and shin pads to the under-15 girls. This heartwarming act deeply affected them.

Understanding that many families in the Cook Islands couldn’t afford football boots, they saw children resorting to sharing their soccer gear or wearing patched-up boots held together with electrical tape. This motivated the couple to come up with a solution.

“We thought, ‘Yeah, we can do something here,'” Mr Parrott said.

Couple gathers impressive collection of 600 soccer boots to support junior teams in the Cook Islands
In Rarotonga, the teams had to share boots and shin pads during games, as depicted in the provided image by Sharon Pascoe.

Almost 600 soccer boots

Initiating a campaign named “Footy Boots for the Cook Islands,” the couple embarked on a mission to collect soccer boots for the children in need. Surpassing their initial target of 200 pairs, they proudly amassed a staggering 576 pairs of boots, along with 110 pairs of shin pads and over 300 brand new pairs of socks.

Ms. Pascoe expressed her sheer amazement, stating, “It’s just amazing.”

Raukura Ellison, representing the Cook Island Sport and National Olympic Committee, expressed immense gratitude for the couple’s efforts. She acknowledged the campaign’s impact in removing the barrier and anxiety associated with not having boots. By providing boots, the campaign has enabled children to freely participate in soccer without the financial burden.

“They’re going to do enormous things in the community.”

Couple gathers impressive collection of 600 soccer boots to support junior teams in the Cook Islands
Pictured in the Cook Islands are Wayne Parrott (left), Raukura Ellison (centre), and Sharon Pascoe, captured in the supplied photograph.

Amelie, a former Saratoga Hawks AFL player, generously donated her boots to support the cause. Despite having only worn them a few times due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the 16-year-old decided to contribute to the initiative.

“It’s really good they’re not going towards landfill and that they’ll get a second life,” she said.

Free air delivery

The most significant hurdle faced during the campaign was finding a way to transport the donated gear to the Cook Islands. Initially, Ms. Pascoe and Mr. Parrott were quoted an exorbitant amount of over $3,000 for freight costs. Determined to find a solution, they reached out to their local MP for assistance.

They sent an email to Minister for the Pacific, Pat Conroy, explaining the situation. Fortunately, Mr. Conroy intervened and organized for a national airline to transport the boots free of charge.

Describing it as a win-win situation, Mr. Conroy highlighted the impact of the donated boots, stating, “These kids who pull on these boots, they’ll automatically think of Australia.” 

“The generosity of Australians supporting other members of the Pacific family … that can only help our relationship in the region, and secondly give these kids a chance to play sport.”

THE CURSE OF LEO MESSI’S GOLDEN BOOTS! This is why Lionel may not win the World Cup!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *