Although not the season we all wanted on the pitch, the players have continued to excel in their duties off the park. And they were out in numbers over the Easter holiday period, visiting venues across three local boroughs bringing joy to hundreds of young children participating in school holiday activities.
Charlie Grainger, David Mooney and Chris Dagnall all dropped into the Score Leisure Centre opposite the Matchroom Stadium at various times during the fortnight to say hello to the kids and join in some of the games that were taking place.
Meanwhile, Darius Henderson and Marvin Bartley combined officially opening the new Daubeney Fields Community Garden in Hackney with each being their team’s goalkeeper in a 6-a-side footy match on the adjacent park. (No mention of the final score as Hendo is still sore at losing 3-2 to Marv, conceding the last goal in the final seconds!).
And supporting Waltham Forest’s ‘Open for Easter – Easter Daze’ holiday programme Dean Cox, Gary Sawyer, Mathieu Baudry, Lloyd James and Nathan Clarke popped into Parkside School, Chingford and Greenleaf School and the Queens Road Community Centre in Walthamstow respectively, to join in with goings-on, including Coxy practicing his circus skills before going in goal for the customary penalty shoot-out!
Jo Tissier from the Daubeney Fields Forever Community Group said: “The player’s were absolutely wonderful. We are so grateful for them coming to open our garden and then spending time playing football with the children, who absolutely loved the experience.
“We have a couple of Orient supporters amongst them so for them it was all a bit surreal. Darius and Marvin really have made our day”. And since the visit, the community group have taken advantage of the clubs 50-50 scheme and attended the Sheffield United game with over 90 of their local community in attendance!
And John Mensah, coach and facilitator at Leyton Orient Trust, commented: “The children here (Parkside School) were so excited to see Dean Cox. And considering his injury he joined in as much as possible and was a credit to the club. He must have signed about 30 autographs and he had great banter with the kids. Visits from the players along with the ticketing initiative really do help the kids make an association with the club and most said they would go to see the game so hopefully supporters for the future.”
“The player’s are an integral part of the success of the community programme and we are proud to be recognised as one of the best in the country,” said Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer.
“It’s important that the players take their community responsibilities seriously and in the five years that I’ve worked in this role I must say that every player has been aware of this importance and all have been utterly professional in their many and varied engagements.
“The squads have been a pleasure to work with and I’m looking forward to continuing building relationships utilising the clubs greatest assets!”
If you would like more information on the 50-50 scheme or players in the community, please contact Howard on [email protected]