FOOTBALL boots donated by Wearside children brought big smiles to the faces of young footballers in South Africa.
The footwear was donated by players from the Russell Foster Youth League, which is sponsored by Sunderland businessman and chairman of Tavistock Leisure, Russell Foster.
Russell, who has become heavily involved in charity work in South Africa, spends six months of the year in the country where he has a home on the West Coast in Port Owen.
Russell, 64, of Burdon, said: “I started to get involved in the young football situation over here.”
“We’ve started with about eight teams for a small league and the hope is they will develop their football skills.”
He added: “Some of the kids are from an orphanage but a lot are just from poor backgrounds.
“Clothing is quite reasonably priced but football boots are expensive. Most of the kids play barefoot.”
Russell delivered the boots to a small league of young football players from the area around Velddrif in South Africa, which is about 85 miles from the capital Cape Town.
Russell said: “When we brought them in there was a lot of happy faces. It was unbelievable, some of the boots that were donated were new and it was like Christmas for them.
“It’s very good to see.”
“We played some games for a while and then had the presentation with drinks, hot dogs and crisps. We made a bit of a day of it.”
As well as some donated ones, most of the football boots have been collected by players from the Russell Foster Youth League which has leagues for under-11s up to under-21s.
Russell said: “Young kids grow out of their boots so quickly and often the boots have so much wear left in them so we collect them and ship them over here.
“We don’t give the kids the boots, we loan them to them so that when they have grown out of them they give them back and they can go on to other kids.”