Luke re­boots prize

The Advocate (Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Lisa Thomas

TEENAGER Luke Cotel­lessa was named one of WA’s bright­est young sport­ing stars last week, win­ning two awards in Com­mu­nity News’ 2017 Lo­cal Sports Star Awards, but the 11-year-old is giv­ing the prize money back to those in need.

The 11-year-old from The Vines set up an ini­tia­tive in 2014 called Luke’s Boots for the Out­back, where he col­lects footy boots, guern­sies, socks, balls and equip­ment and do­nates them to dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren in WA re­gional towns.

Luke won the Young Sport­ing Spirit In­di­vid­ual Award for the hills and east­ern re­gion and was also the over­all win­ner for the cat­e­gory, win­ning a to­tal prize of $700 for his work with the ini­tia­tive, in which he trav­elled thou­sands of kilo­me­tres across WA to de­liver the do­nated items.

Af­ter win­ning the award, Luke told his par­ents he wanted to do­nate the money back into Luke’s Boots for the Out­back.

He said his idea for Luke’s Boots came af­ter a kick of the footy at a lo­cal oval.

“I was eight and had made friends at an oval. We were kick­ing the footy and one kid was play­ing in socks,” he said.

“I asked my mum if I could give him my last sea­son’s boots which I grew out of; he was a good player and I wanted him to come back and play.”

Luke said he didn’t un­der­stand why other kids didn’t have foot­ball boots, but it was ex­plained to him that in re­gional towns peo­ple didn’t have ac­cess to equip­ment.

“I un­der­stand now why the kids don’t have boots, so I keep col­lect­ing be­cause all kids should have what they need,” he said.

“I get let­ters now too from the kids who love their boots or their mums write to my mum.”

Luke said he was sur­prised to win the Lo­cal Sport’s Star awards.

He said he would spend a lit­tle bit of the money on him­self, but would be putting most of the money to­wards buy­ing foot­ball boots, foot­balls and pumps.

“I love all my sports and most morn­ings and ev­ery night I train re­ally hard. I have had a good year at my school com­pe­ti­tions in ath­let­ics and cross coun­try and also in my foot­ball club’s best and fairest, but the sport star award is one of my favourites,” he said

“Mum and Dad told me about the prize. They told me it was a big prize and said they would like me to buy my­self some­thing, but asked me to think about good ways I could use it.”

Luke’s mother, Ta­mara Cotel­lessa said they were ex­tremely proud of him.

“The first time he of­fered his birth­day money gifted to him for the ben­e­fit of some­one else we knew he was a kind boy,” she said.

“Even be­fore Luke’s Boots, his god­mother in­tro­duced him to vol­un­teers at an an­i­mal shel­ter with a non­vol­un­tary eu­thana­sia pol­icy and he shook a can rais­ing funds for them.”

Pic­ture: David Baylis­mu­ni­ d476151

Luke Cotel­lessa, Young Sport­ing Spirit In­di­vid­ual Award win­ner for Hills/East, flanked by Perth Lynx co-cap­tain Toni Farn­worth and Aleisha Power, from the Hock­ey­roos.

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