Club captain Darren Pratley was the guest of honour at Westhoughton High School’s Year 7 English class on Tuesday afternoon as part of the pupils’ Community Project.
As part of their work to encourage pride in their community, the school’s Year 7 students wrote letters to members of the Bolton family who inspire them, with all who were contacted responding positively to the request to come in and take part in an English lesson with the children.
Amongst the guests invited were Bolton nurse Mrs Rockliffe, professional wrestler and coach for Aspull Warriors Philip Roberts, 94-year-old World War II veteran Mr Redburn and the town crier, John Crook.
On Tuesday 27 March however, the pupils, led by teacher Miss Marron, were treated to a visit by Wanderers captain Darren Pratley who spent the lesson answering questions, signing autographs, posing for photographs and generally offering advice to the youngsters.
Students will use the invaluable research gained from interviewing their local role models to produce work for the school website, including poems, newspaper articles and stories.
Speaking following the visit meanwhile, pupil Crystal said, “This has made me so happy – thank you!”
Teacher Miss Marron echoed her student’s sentiments, adding, “It’s such a fantastic experience for the students to meet their community heroes and to hear about their successes and failures.
“Bolton is a fantastic community, which students should feel proud to be a part of and the quality of their work will hopefully reflect the vibrancy of their experiences.
“Year 7 meanwhile were so excited to meet Darren - they were thrilled when he accepted their invitation! Darren was generous with his time, going out of his way to support students in their lesson.
“It was well and truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that the students involved will never forget and I am very grateful to Bolton Wanderers and Darren for taking this time to help students feel pride in their community and inspired about their futures.”
Phil Hart, Westhoughton High School’s headteacher meanwhile said, “We are delighted that Darren made the time available to visit our Year 7 students to support our Literacy work.
“We work hard to develop the higher order communication skills that all students need to succeed in life and it is experiences such as this that reinforce this to them, whatever your chosen career.”