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Players swap balls for books

26 April 2015

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Four Rovers stars were a class act when they made a special visit to a Ribble Valley school.

Corry Evans, Matt Kilgallon, Lee Williamson and Jason Steele visited St Leonard’s Primary School in Balderstone to highlight the importance of literacy and encourage the youngsters to read.

The quartet, who all have young children themselves, shared stories of their favourite books and then fielded questions from around 60 students.

Kilgallon brought in book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and was very supportive of the initiative.

"You are always guaranteed a laugh when you come to primary schools because the kids just say whatever they want,” said the stand-in skipper.
"There were some great questions there and it is just all about getting kids reading more and enjoying books more, because I think a lot of kids watch TV and play on computers.
"I'm constantly reading books to my kids. I read to them every night to put them to sleep and they enjoy it. They change every day as to which one their favourite is, but we have a good laugh doing it. I'd say Going on a Bear Hunt is probably their favourite, there are a lot of actions and noises that I have to do!"

English subject leader Jayne Rear, who organised the event in conjunction with the club’s Community Trust, said the children were delighted to see some of their sporting heroes at close quarters.

She said: “We have been doing a big push on reading throughout the school in terms of enthusing the kids to read. We really wanted some positive role models to talk about the benefits of books and reading, and Blackburn Rovers were kind enough to offer to come along for the afternoon.

“The players spoke about their favourite things to read and books they would read with their own children. The kids absolutely loved it. Quite a lot of them are big Blackburn Rovers fans, so it was great for them to be inspired by the players they know.”

Gary Robinson, Rovers’ Head of Community, said: "Blackburn Rovers, via its charity arm Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, is dedicated to supporting the young people of our local area by working with schools and other charity organisations.

“Blackburn Rovers Community Trust is working with a record number of local schools through funding primarily provided by the Premier League, Football League Trust and the PFA. We hope to use this funding and the positive influence of the pulling-power Blackburn Rovers has on young children, to inspire each and every child in the greater Blackburn area to better themselves and to lead happier and healthier lifestyles by enriching the National Curriculum.

"This special event was a huge success. The children were inspired by the player's own personal experiences and the enjoyment they also receive from reading and playing sport.

"We were delighted that St Leonard's invited Blackburn Rovers into their school. We'll be returning to school once a week to deliver a sports education programme for the remainder of this school year.

"Not only do we hope to enrich each child's school experience through our programmes, but we hope to see many of the children become Rovers fans and see them regularly at Ewood Park in the near future.

"I'm sure the players left a lasting impression on the children and the visit will be the talk of the classroom for a long time to come."

The Community Trust coaches also delivered a football session to all of the Key Stage 2 children to promote Premier League School Sport and how the club can use the power of football to educate and motivate, whilst maintaining the fun aspect of the sport.

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