Supporters attending the recent game against Carlisle wouldn’t have failed to notice the sound of calypso drums emanating from the North Stand concourse before the match and on the pitch during the half time interval.
Children from the Norlington School for Boys in Leyton, led by teacher Clare Gould, were invited to attend and entertain the crowd as part of the new LOPASS (Leyton Orient Partnership of Associated Schools Scheme) initiative and a great job they did too.
The club has had a great response from fans to the idea and Tom Jenkins, a West Stand season ticket holder commented: “They were wonderful. It made a nice change to have a bit of noise around the place. Can they come back every game?”
The Norlington School Percussion Group was established in September 2012 under the direction of Ben Lewis and has progressed hugely since then and due to their continued hard work and enthusiasm they have recently been bought a new samba set as reward for their commitment.
Clare said: “This is so exciting. We were so pleased to be asked to come and play and the whole experience will be really rewarding for the children. I know Orient players Scott (Cuthbert) and Leon (McSweeney) visit the school and have helped at our presentations recently but the whole LOPASS idea, incorporating other areas apart from the football teams, is really great. The children talk about Orient now and it has really identified them as a partner in the community.”
Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer, said: “This is what the LOPASS scheme was designed to do; making a link with our local schools and allowing the pupils an opportunity to show their skills, whether it be in sports, musically or academically whilst experiencing what their local football club can offer in return. Hopefully it creates a lasting bond with the students and the club gains their support in the long term.
“Scott and Leon have been the clubs ambassadors at Norlington for the past two seasons and have really established themselves as favourites there, helping on English projects, with fitness testing and attending the school’s athletics days at Lee Valley Sports Centre. This obviously helps with the association the children have when they come to watch the guys play. Norlington has been a huge success and is a template for others.”
The band, consisting of members; Gladness Sonzi (leader), Zeeshaan Hussain, Junaid Rahman, David Adewale, Shivrajsinh Chudasama, Imran Tariq, Steve Nti, Tahla Amin and Rehman Majid has been invited back to play again later in the season. Dancing is optional!