Cirencester College has donated sports kits and equipment such as balls, bibs and shirts to children in Fiji through “Bula Boots”, a charity recently set up in the UK with the help of former Fiji Olympic-winning coach Ben Ryan.
The charity’s aim is to provide rugby kits and equipment to players between the ages of 8 and 18 in Fiji.
The college’s decision to donate to the charity was influenced by Damian Cuke, a member of the college’s sports department who was inspired after reading Ryan’s multiple award winning book Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream.
The book describes Fiji’s emotional journey to Olympic gold at the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil. Cuke is inspired by how Ryan led a country where children played with bottles full of dirt instead of a rugby ball to Rio gold and wants the college to make a difference by providing rugby equipment to children in the country.
@benjaminryan @fijirugby @bulabootsuk @GRFUrugby Players John Kasami & Harrison Woodcock with Head Coaches Damian Cuke & Joe Mitchell prepare to send kit to Fiji with the Bula Boots Charity. Idea inspired from Ben Ryan’s book ‘Sevens Heaven’. #rugbyfamily pic.twitter.com/5iC7btPaqF
— Damian Cuke (@cuke77) July 1, 2019
“I don’t think I realised the scale of deprivation there, especially when you consider the team’s 2016 Olympic success,” Cuke was qouted as saying by Cirenchester on their website. “Ben’s very down to earth and it was just nice for him to recognise and support us as a College.”
Inside the packages are photographs of the college team and the message: “ It’s a pleasure to be part of the rugby family.”
A grateful Ryan wrote on twitter : “A huge thank you to Cirencester College for donating to Bula Boots and helping the young players of Fiji get hold of some kit to play the game they love. Every little bit helps.”
Cuke and Cirenchester College are now hoping to inspire other clubs to donate to the charity.
“I’m happy the College is going to make a difference, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re now talking to other clubs about how they can do the same,” Cuke added.
Main photo: Cirencester College