Stanley Gene praises Vikings supporters

Stanley Gene praises Vikings supporters

20th June 2018

Rugby league legend, Stanley Gene, has praised Widnes Vikings supporters for their generous backing of Papua New Guinea’s rugby community, following the launch of a new campaign to provide boots for fans in the nation.

This year, Vikings Members and supporters helped to raise a life-changing sum for Kato Ottio’s loved ones, after the tragic passing of the winger, and donated thousands of rugby shirts to people across PNG. These special initiatives are being followed by a new charity challenge, where supporters are invited to donate their spare boots to help the grassroots sport in the developing nation.

With the Vikings new Official Footwear Supplier, XBlades, supporting the campaign, and the Stanley Gene Foundation and Maltacourt helping to distribute the boots to remote and impoverished communities in the nation, Vikings supporters have a genuine opportunity to change lives.

Stanley explains: “I think this boot collection is a fantastic idea and shows the great character of Widnes Vikings and its supporters.  In Papua New Guinea, Rugby League is our national game and thousands of people of all ages enjoy playing the game. However, many people in our villages simply cannot afford to buy boots, and when they do own them they are treasured possessions. It’s not uncommon to see children playing the game barefoot in muddy fields, simply for the love of the sport.”

“These donations will mean so much to the people who will receive the boots. By simply offering the spare boots that are gathering dust in your house, you could be giving something that will be life changing to people in PNG. Who knows, you could help someone to follow in the footsteps of myself, Wellington Albert and Kato Ottio in achieving their dreams of becoming a professional rugby league player."

Stanley is heading back to Papua New Guinea this week to help distribute some of the shirts that were donated by Vikings supporters. He will also be meeting Kato Ottio’s family, to support them to plan how they will utilise the money donated by Widnes Vikings and its supporters in his memory. He says that both of these causes have won the life-long support of the people of PNG.

“Widnes Vikings have built a bridge between the United Kingdom and Papua New Guinea, just like Hull KR also brilliantly have. I know that many of our most talented young players aspire to play for the club in the future. The respect for the late Kato Ottio from their supporters meant a lot to everyone in PNG, as did their donations of all of the shirts, which I know will be proudly worn.

“I have been in touch with Kato’s family and am looking forward to meeting his mother when I visit my homeland soon. Kato always worked for his mum, and I am sure that the money that the club and its supporters raised will make a real difference to her.”

“The supporters should be very proud of the difference that they have made. The connection between Widnes Vikings and the people of Papua New Guinea grows stronger every day.”

Supporters looking to support the ‘Bring Your Boots’ initiative can donate their boots at the special collection point at the Vikings Superstore, located within Tesco Extra, Widnes. 

Every person who gives to the campaign will be eligible for an exclusive 15% discount on the new XBlades footwear range, as a thank you for their donations. 2018 Viking Stronghold Members can also access ultilise their 10% discount on purchases from the Vikings Superstore, offering a total 25% discount on the XBlades range. 

Stanley Gene praises Vikings supporters