17 January 2008: Visiting the David Beckham Academy last week, students from SHINE on Saturday @ Hillyfield School in Waltham Forest were lucky enough to meet not just Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, but also their footballing hero himself.
As a Patron of SHINE, for several days each year David opens up his Academy to students from SHINE projects in London. On 10 January 2008, 60 students from SHINE on Saturday @ Hillyfield Primary School in Waltham Forest, together with another 60 of their classmates, were lucky enough to have the chance to spend a day at the Academy, testing their core academic skills and improving their football technique.
For SHINE students, the chance of spending a day at David’s Academy is one of the highlights of the year. For Hillyfield’s pupils, however, it turned into the experience of a lifetime when, to their surprise and delight, their trip coincided with a visit by Gordon Brown to the Academy, hosted by the former England captain himself.
Click on the video below to see a short film about the Prime Minister’s visit.
The Prime Minister was visiting the Academy to find out more about its football and fitness training for children, as well as its Schools Programme. This uses football-related topics to link into the national curriculum, using topics such as nutrition, league tables and sports journalism to improve students’ ability in science, maths and English.
After signing an enormous number of t-shirts, David joined the Prime Minister for a question and answer session with the students. Jack Clayton, aged 9, said: “We went to interview David Beckham and Mr Brown. It was great, an experience of a lifetime. I asked David what were his best goals? He said for Manchester United from the half way line, and England against Greece in Euro 2004. I then asked Mr Brown, do you eat your five portions a day? He said yes, I try to. Then I asked are you trying to get sports facilities for the North? He said yes, and I will try to make P.E. times to four hours and get more things for everyone.”
The Prime Minister described the Academy as “a unique offer that, to his credit, David Beckham, for his charity work, is making available to so many people.” He went onto say that: “I want to see what goes on here having an influence in every part of the country. It’s David Beckham’s idea. He thought of this first, and it has been a dream come true for him. You don’t have to be brilliant at sport to benefit from this – and you can see what the kids are taking in about nutrition, diet and fitness.”
David Beckham said: “It’s a proud day for us today. To have the Prime Minister visiting the Academy and keen to get involved in everything we believe in is just an incredible thing for us.”