Preston North End’s Billy Bodin gave an insight into the makings of an International footballer to three youngsters as part of PNE’s Premier League Primary Stars Programme.
Jaxon, Queenivette and Danielle all took part in a mock press conference after the trio finished in the top three of a writing competition hosted by North End.
The competition invited primary school children to imagine that they were playing for Preston North End and had just received an International call up for their country.
It was the chance for children to express themselves by putting pen to paper and describing in detail the feelings and emotions of representing their country on the football stage.
“You never know what kind of questions you get with kids, but there was some great questions and it’s been great to come down and meet these children who have done really well to get this far in the competition,” said Billy fresh from his press conference.
“As a child, for my sake anyway all I wanted to do was play football and it was only until I got my apprenticeship that I realised that I should have done more in school and how important reading and writing is; you perhaps don’t realise how important all of that is until you leave school, but this competition is a fantastic way of getting children engaged.”
The questions posed to the Welsh International by all three winners certainly gave Billy something to think about. From the exploits of representing Wales to growing up just wanting to play football, our youngsters carefully selected a handful of questions to PNE’s No. 39, and for one youngster in particular it was an inspiring afternoon.
“Because the competition was based on football, it made me want to try really hard and work at it,” said PNE supporter Jaxon who came first overall in the competition.
“Billy inspired me to never give up with whatever it is you want to do no matter how many times you get knocked down.”
Jaxon was closely followed by both Danielle and Queenivette who finished as runners up in the competition which was ran during the summer. As well as meeting Billy and being able to ask him questions, the three alongside their parents enjoyed a ground tour of the ground where they were able to take a look at Deepdale behind the scenes.
“I loved going into the dressing room and looking at the things they do before the matches,” said Danielle.
“Literacy is one of my best subjects so I thought I’d had a chance at doing well. I found it interesting because the prize was to meet the players and I really wanted to do it.
“It was a fun topic to do and I really enjoyed writing about, and to then be told by my mum that I was a runner up, I didn’t believe her!”
For Queenivette, it was the chance for her to show off her native background as she described how it felt to represent France in her entry.
Joining her as she enjoyed her prize at Deepdale was father, John who spoke about what taking part in the competition and being successful meant to her and her family.
“She’s still a child and still growing up and she needs as many ways to learn as possible as she is still adapting to this country and the language," said John.
"She came over here when she was just six-years-old and she lost her Mother so despite that, she’s adapting very well to this country and she’s made me very proud being part of this today.”
Queenivette added: “The day has really inspired me to not give up, persevere and try your best no matter what people say and be proud of who you’re playing for.”
The messages throughout the afternoon echo what the Premier League Primary Stars Programme is all about, and if your primary school is situated within the wards of Preston, we can relay these messages to your children as we aim to build the aspirations of youngsters on and off the sports field.
To find out more about Preston North End’s schools provision, click here.