Preston North End Community and Education Trust FIT FANS participants were in for a surprise last week when Brad Potts and Jayden Stockley guest starred in their online Zoom meetings.
The Lilywhites duo each joined one of the FIT FANS weekly Zoom calls, taking place to support participants of the programme who are signed up to a 12-week health and fitness programme that is encouraging men and women aged 35 to 65 to make positive lifestyle choices.
Weeks one to nine of the programme took place at Deepdale, with 90-minute sessions equally made up of classroom workshops and exercise sessions in the stadium and on the concourse.
Lockdown restrictions have forced the programme online temporarily but that came with the surprise arrival of Potts in the men’s weekly Zoom call and Stockley in the women’s Zoom call.
“I know it’s an experience they’ll never forget,” said Community Inclusion Officer Hannah White.
“Having the players come on and giving them that Q&A where they can literally ask them anything and everything about their diet, exercise, matchdays and non-matchdays, it humanises them and they’ve absolutely loved it.
“Due to the new lockdown restrictions, we’ve had to adapt and take it online, and their engagement has been just as amazing as it has been in person.
“They’ve been working hard for the past 11 weeks. This helped the FIT FANS feel that they’ve made really good progress.”
Participants Chris Allston and Anne-Marie Flynn were both delighted with the players’ involvement, especially given they are both North End fans.
“It was a really nice surprise when Jayden popped up on the screen, I don’t think anyone was expecting it – least of all me!” said Anne-Marie.
“It’s been a really nice, supportive group, everyone’s been really friendly and when we’ve been doing the exercise together at the ground, everyone’s been really supportive of each other and cheering each other on.”
Chris added: “I’m a North End fan and have lived in Preston all my life. Part of the appeal was being in and around the stadium.
“It was a really nice touch to have one of the players come in and the chance to ask them questions and see what their routine is pre-game and in the build-up to matches.”
FIT FANS is a completely free 12-week health and fitness programme, for which men and women aged between 35 and 65-years-old can sign up to access classroom workshops and exercise classes one night a week, all taking place at Deepdale.
The next men’s wave of FIT FANS starts in January, while it is not until April for the women, however both can still register their interest and sign up by clicking here and selecting Preston North End as your chosen club, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.