Club collecting gear and books to help others

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Boots, balls and books is the call from Edendale Rugby Club president John Fodie.

Mr Fodie is collecting rugby and reading items to send to villages in Fiji that cannot afford new equipment.

The idea has gained traction in the past week, with rugby clubs, groups and schools throughout the community giving items to the cause.

He obtained a full bag of balls and boots and a stack of books.

But the word from Mr Fodie is clear:

“We don’t have enough gear yet – we need more.

“We’ll take anything in good condition and refurbish if we have too.”

He would buy new laces for both junior and senior boots if they were missing, he said.

Edendale Primary School offered books from the school library which were no longer used, and Eastern Southland Rugby was giving two sets of old junior playing kits.

“It’s had great support and response from the community since it’s got out there.

Mr Fodie was contacted by several rugby clubs in the region who were willing to give old rugby items that were no longer needed to his cause.

“If any rugby club wants to donate and get involved and on board we’ll tag them in. It’s not solely an Edendale thing.”

The idea came after Mr Fodie and his wife Denise attended a rugby game in Nadi in June.

But it was not the game that caught his eye, it was a young child grasping on to his prize possession – a rugby ball.

The ball had no grip, the writing had worn off and the seams were coming apart.

“It was clear this boy’s passions was footy, and he was cradling it on the sideline.”

He looked to the side and saw three children between 4 and 6 years old playing rugby with a 300ml soft drink bottle.

“If that had been a New Zealand group, they would have had a rugby ball,” Mr Fodie said.

“I was wondering if there was any way we could help.

“I want to keep it going next year and after – I don’t want it to be a one-off thing.”

The word would continue to be put out there, especially before the start of next year’s rugby season when clubs would discard unused gear, he said.

Mr Fodie would take the items already gathered to Fiji next month.

People interested in giving books, rugby boots or rugby balls to a good cause can contact John Fodie on 27433-8775 or message the Edendale Rugby Club Facebook page.