Pair of shoes kick starts campaign

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Annie Spilsbury and her daughter Amber Annie Spilsbury and her daughter Amber

Mother-of-two Annie Spilsbury started collecting shoes in support of the Butale Project after seeing a picture of orphaned African toddler Dorcas wearing her daughter’s first shoes.

Miss Spilsbury, 41, of Studley, near Calne, decided to donate her daughter Amber’s first shoes to a child in Uganda after speaking to charity founder Miriam Sawyer.

Amber was only 18 months old at the time and initially Miss Spilsbury struggled to give her first shoes away, but she was delighted with her decision after seeing a picture of Dorcas.

Miss Spilsbury, who is also mum to two-year-old Ashley, said: “What I wanted to do is see what the response was like and it has been really strong.

“Miriam has had a lot of donations and Nationwide has supported it by putting shoe collection boxes in its head office in Swindon. A lot of people stop me and say ‘you’re the one who’s collecting the shoes’, so word has got out.”

When the shoes go out at Easter, Miss Spilsbury plans to help Mrs Sawyer clean them and get them parcelled up for the journey.

African children generally have bigger feet than English youngsters.

Shoes for older children are in demand as they wear them out more quickly than younger children.

Miss Spilsbury said: “I can’t wait for them to go out. I would love to go but I can’t because I have two young children, but I think Miriam is taking a huge group out.”

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