Defender Gary Sawyer visited Sybourn primary school in Leyton recently and addressed the whole Year 6 assembly before joining them in the playground for a football skills session!
As part of the Leyton Orient Partnership of Associated Schools Scheme (LOPASS), players visit their adopted schools throughout the season and ‘Gaz’ was happy to return for the second time this season.
“I really enjoyed the visit, “said the full-back, “and the children were great. I didn’t mind doing it alone as they wouldn’t have understood a word ‘Frenchy’ (Mathieu Baudry) would have said anyway!” he added with a smile. (Baudry had to miss the visit due to sustaining an injury at training that morning).
Ninety pupils were present but that didn’t deter Gary, who is also an ambassador for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
“I like talking to the children and passing on positive messages and the kids here are really enthusiastic. I enjoyed it and had a good time”.
Diane Thomas, Senior Learning Mentor & Extended Services Manager, said afterwards, “Gary gave his talk to all of the children together, so an audience of 90 children for him to cope with. He was absolutely brilliant and gave such a great talk about what it takes to get where you want to be in life; motivation, perseverance and resilience when things don’t go your way etc. The pupils hung on his every word and the Q & A’s could have gone on for a good couple of hours!
“We then went out into the playground and worked on football skills which of course the children loved. Almost all of them got a poster which Gary sat and signed for each one of them!
“Do please pass on our biggest thanks to Gary for a great afternoon that the children will remember for years to come. The excitement level was pretty high! He was friendly, patient with all the children’s questions and had great interaction with them – they warmed to him immediately. It was a pleasure to welcome him to the school; a great ambassador for Leyton Orient.”
The school then attended the game on the following Saturday versus Colchester United as part of the LOPASS 50-50 scheme and watched Gary in action as the O’s produced another win in the quest for promotion.
“The LOPASS is a great invention and really benefits us”, added Diane. The children really are beginning to have an affinity with the club and we love all the benefits”.