Jayson Leutwiler and Rover The Dog were active participants on World Autism Awareness Day, helping to open Blackburn’s recently-created Newfield School, which specialises in supporting children with the condition.
The Shadsworth-based establishment is specifically designed to meet the needs of children aged two to 19 with conditions such as autism, complex medical needs and sensory impairments.
As such, on the day that it was officially declared open, the Canadian international goalkeeper – who proudly represents Blackburn Rovers Community Trust as its disability sports ambassador – and the cuddly club mascot created plenty of excitement as special guests on the day, as well as being joined by club and Community Trust representatives, including Cllr Maureen Bateson MBE, who represents the latter as a trustee.
Matt Pilkington, disability sports officer at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, was among those who attended an enjoyable launch. He explained:
“It was a privilege to be able to attend the official opening of Newfield School and it’s clear that this specialist facility is going to do wonders for young people in Blackburn, offering key support in areas where it is needed the most.
“We were delighted to receive an invitation to be a part of their big day and I really enjoyed seeing how positively most of the children reacted to meeting our special guests, with both being in particular demand.
“We are once again grateful to Jayson for giving up his time to support the area of disability awareness in our town and he spoke really positively and passionately about what it means to him when he was interviewed by media outlets at the opening.
“We hope that we’ll be able to continue to support Newfield and their pupils as the school goes from strength to strength.”