Ashes winner Paul Collingwood inspires schoolchildren on Hexham visit

Durham captain gives lesson in fair sportsmanship to Northumberland school pupils

Delighted youngsters were bowled over by a special visit from cricket ace Paul Collingwood when the Durham captain and Ashes winner turned up for morning assembly at their Northumberland school.

The Durham and England cricketer proved a good sport when he agreed to teach pupils of Hexcham’s Acomb First School a lesson as part of national charitable campaign Chance to Shine which aims to keep cricket alive in schools.

Local hero Paul stressed the importance of good sportsmanship during his two-hour Thursday morning visit which also included an outdoor coaching session.

Beforehand the girls and boys were told about the hard but fair approach to playing sport and the true spirit of the game. During the interactive assembly, hosted by Northumberland Cricket, they learned about respecting team mates, the opposition and match officials.

And now it will be a matter of the youngsters putting what they’ve learned into practice with their fair play being recognised and rewarded at school sessions.

The event was part of a partnership between Chance to Shine and Marylebone Cricket Club, owner of Lord’s cricket ground, whose coaches are spreading its message this summer to 420,000 children throughout England and Wales.

It has also included intra-school competitions and a MCC Spirit of Cricket Open Day at Lord’s, known as the home of cricket, and an online DVD is also available for schools.

Before Chance to Shine launched in 2005, fewer than 10% of state schools played competitive cricket. Since then, 9,000 schools have been learning about key values and skills, including leadership, discipline and teamwork, which are expected to translate to wider walks of life.

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