Community spirit was high on Thursday, March 17, as a total of five Leyton Orient players headed out to meet fans in Waltham Forest. Nicky Hunt and Shaun Brisley attended Ainslie Wood primary school in Chingford to celebrate the school being part of the Healthy HerO’s programme. This programme has seen specialist coach Michael Kalu deployed into the school to support pupils with their literacy, numeracy and behaviour through an innovative active learning curriculum and mentoring programme.
The afternoon saw the players answering questions from pupils in year three and four before Nicky Hunt became teacher for the day, reading to pupils from the book ‘The Hattrick’. To cap the day off, the school then received free tickets so that their pupils could cheer on the pair and the rest of the Orient team at the home game against Morecambe on the following Saturday.
‘One of the pupils quoted, “It was awesome! I’m definitely going to start supporting Leyton Orient now!’
The club’s French trio consisting of skipper Mathieu Baudry, midfielder Nigel Atangana and striker Armand Gnanduillet had gone to visit the Norlington Boys School in Leyton to help with a French language lesson, receiving and answering questions in French, encouraging the pupils to converse and gain confidence.
Paul Hobbs, Deputy Head at the school commented, “It was great to have the Orient players visit and inspire the pupils once again. The children were so excited and there was a real buzz around the school. We have a great relationship with the football club and are always grateful for their continued support via the LOPASS (Leyton Orient Partnership of Associated Schools Scheme) whether it be arranging player visits or supplying tickets for the pupils to watch a match. There is a real sense of ‘Leyton Orient’ around the school now which is great to see”.
And midfielder Atangana said: “It was a most enjoyable afternoon. The students were very friendly and asked good questions. I’m glad we could help with their studies”.
And at the Score Centre in Leyton, striker Ollie Palmer spoke of his training and eating regimes and compared them to when he was younger and now as a professional footballer as part of the workshop programmes associated with the Coping Through Football project, a transformational mental health project that uses football to bring people together and re-encourage confidence and self-esteem.
Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer, said, “The feedback from today has been tremendous. We have a great group of players at the club and they are total professionals on and off the pitch. Their influence on community members young and old is long-lasting and creates much more of a bond with the club than purely as an untouchable footballer who plays on a Saturday afternoon.“
For more information on the schools programme ‘Healthy HerO’s’ , Coping Through Football or LOPASS, please contact Leyton Orient Trust 0208 556 5973 or visit the website www.leytonorienttrust.org