A lucky Teesside school got the chance to meet some of England’s top professionals as part of the Together for England Roadshow.
England Under-21 and Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson and Manchester City Lioness Demi Stokes visited the students of Holmwood School in the Easterside area for a day of fun-filled activities.
The Together for England Roadshow is a nationwide campaign that travels to schools up and down the country to inspire young England fans by strengthening the national teams relationship with local communities.
The two professionals got involved in the Middlesbrough Sportability Club’s half-term camp as they tested their skills at archery, golf and table tennis with children aged from 8 to nineteen years old.
The day was a success for everyone involved as children from Holmwood got the chance to meet their international heroes and received goodie bags including tickets to see England Under 21’s fixture against Germany Under 21’s at the Riverside Stadium on 30th March.
Gibson said: “This campaign is a good chance to give something back to the local community and the kids in the area. It’s fantastic to be able to put a smile on their faces.
“Whenever I got the chance to meet a Middlesbrough footballer when I was a kid it was a fantastic experience so hopefully they will feel the same way about me coming today.
“It’s an honour to represent your country and its something I do with immense pride. That’s what you dream of as a kid. To do it in conjunction with Middlesbrough has made it a fantastic day.
Stokes said: “I’ve been playing archery, golf and table tennis so I’ve just been having fun with them, getting to know the group and putting smiles on their faces.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and to be honest I think I’ve had more fun than the kids! But its nice to come in today and feel like you are giving back especially because the kids look up to you.
“I think its really good what England are doing and it just goes to show how close we are to the community.
“It’s important to show that whether it’s with a football or a golf stick that you are keeping healthy, going out and being active.”
The day and campaign further highlights Middlesbrough’s strength with its local community and helping young school children get involved with sport and healthy lifestyle.
Demi Stokes has made 11 England caps for the women’s first time and described what it was like to step out onto the pitch adding: “It’s really emotional.
“Sometimes I feel like I am going to cry. It’s brilliant to see the other players either side of you and your family in the crowd. I sing the national anthem loud and proud.
Ben Gibson spoke about Middlesbrough’s efforts to get promoted back to the Premier League and his impressive season. He insisted their destiny is in their hands.
He said: “The onus is on us to go to keep winning games and go and defend our position at the top. If we do that and keep doing that the way we know we can then we should win the league but its a long way to go.
“I feel as though I’ve had a good season. I’ve improved as a player and learnt from my mistakes last season because its important to build on those.