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Newcastle teen calls for codes to donate football boots

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For 13-year-old Hugo Cabalzar-Lampert, playing football is what winter is all about.

Tying the laces on a pair of footie boots each weekend during the colder months gives him a buzz.

It’s also a joy he believes everyone should have access to. 

Which is why he and his mum Naomi are collecting unwanted football boots for the Wilcannia Aboriginal Barkindji Community.

“I love playing AFL and if kids miss out on this because they don’t have boots I want to try and help,” Hugo says.

Naomi and Hugo are encouraging all football codes in the Hunter to donate their unwanted football boots to the Wallsend Health Campus Aboriginal Health Unit.

The boots will then be passed on to those in Wilcannia who are keen to lace up for a game.

“I know in our house we always get to the start of the footy season and think what are we going to do with the old pairs of boots,” Naomi says.

“Kids always outgrow shoes within a year.

“I’ve got two boys who play footie so there’s always a spare pair floating around.

“This way we know our boots are going to a good home.”

Football boots of all shapes and sizes can be dropped in the bin marked ‘Football Boots’ at the Moonbi Street entrance at Alder Park Sports Club in Wallsend, between 9am and 9pm.

Naomi is also happy to collect the boots from local football clubs if needed.

“This is not just for Newcastle City (AFL Club), we’d love to see all clubs in our region get involved,” she said. 

Wilcannia is a remote town in north-west NSW, about 200km from Broken Hill.

It has a population of around 800 people.

Its local Aboriginal people are Paakantyi, or Barkindji or Barkandji, all meaning ‘river people’ or ‘belonging to the river’.

The town drew media attention in September 2021 after it became one of the worst hit by COVID-19.

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