Indigenous All Stars hero Preston Campbell’s signed, handpainted football boots will be auctioned as part of this week’s NRL Close the Gap Round (Round 22 – August 5-8) to raise funds for charity.

Campbell’s (unworn) Adidas boots, painted by David Williams, CEO of the creative Indigenous creative agency Gilimbaa, and colleague Riki Salam will be auctioned along with a Dragons jersey signed by the 2010 premiers, with all funds raised going to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF).

ALNF is a charity partner of One Community. The Foundation raises funds to develop, implement and sustain innovative projects for individuals, families and communities. 

The boots to be auctioned (both left and right shoes as a pair) were specially created for the 2011 Indigenous All Stars match played at the Gold Coast in February, but injury forced Campbell to miss the game. 

He was still presented with the shoes which feature traditional Indigenous artwork, painted by hand, and the NRL’s third annual Close the Gap Round was considered a fitting opportunity to use them to help raise money for ALNF.

The painting on Campbell’s boots represents traditionally, straightening of the spears - getting ready for battle, the skilled hunter has honed his craft and approaches his target with precision and skill. It is to reflect Campbell, as he has grown up honing his craft to be a leader and skilled hunter. 

The online auction will start at midnight on Monday, August 1,  on www.nrlauctions.com/ and will end at midnight on Tuesday, August 16.

Close the Gap Round, which will run from August 5-8, is Australia’s largest ever campaign to improve the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Rugby league was the first sporting code in Australia to sign up to the Close the Gap campaign in 2009.  

Shockingly, the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is more than a decade less than for other Australians - and Indigenous babies have an up to three times greater chance of dying before the age of one than other Australian babies.  Four out of five children in remote Indigenous communities can’t read.

The Close the Gap message is that with a bit of teamwork from all Australians we can help fix this crisis. ALNF is working to close the gap by teaching Indigenous children to read and write. Show your support by donating at www.alnf.org