William meets young Shropshire footballers in St George's Park event

Youngsters from two Shropshire primary schools have been some of the first to meet the new Prince of Wales at a football event.

The Prince of Wales talks to youngsters in Shrewsbury Town shirts during his visit to St George's Park
The Prince of Wales talks to youngsters in Shrewsbury Town shirts during his visit to St George's Park

Pupils from Baschurch Primary School and Christchurch CoE were part of the celebrations to mark 10 years of St George's Park, near Burton-on-Trent – the home of England's football teams.

And it wasn't just a chance to meet the Prince, with the Baschurch pupils also getting some time with the England men's team manager, Gareth Southgate.

The pupils had been invited to take part in a tournament celebrating the occasion by the Shrewsbury Town Foundation, Shrewsbury Town Football Club's official charity.

The Prince of Wales talks to youngsters in Shrewsbury Town shirts during his visit to St George's Park

The foundation nominated the schools, with Baschurch sending a girls' team to compete in the celebratory tournament, and Christ Church a boys' side.

It proved a successful day on the pitch too, with the girls' side winning their competition and the boys' team making it through to the semi-final.

Simon Tisdale, primary education manager at the Shrewsbury Town Foundation, said the day had been a once in a lifetime opportunity for the youngsters – and the adults who had joined them.

He said that the Prince had even revealed details of his own kickabouts with his children as he chatted to the Shropshire players.

Mr Tisdale said: "He was spending quite a bit of time speaking to one of the young boys, He said to him well done for being a goalkeeper because you have to be brave and sometimes you have to take a few shots, and he said his son George has to take a few shots from himself when he goes in goal."

"It was a really nice moment where he was relating to him."

The Prince of Wales talks to youngsters in Shrewsbury Town shirts during his visit to St George's Park

Mr Tisdale explained they had also had the opportunity to meet Gareth Southgate, as the England coach is in the midst of preparations for the up-coming World Cup – saying "it was a joy to see" the reactions from the pupils, whose faces "lit up" at the chance to meet the high profile visitors.

He said: "We were really lucky to meet Gareth Southgate. Our Baschurch girls got there quite early and Gareth Southgate was walking past and luckily offered his time to sign their boots and shirts and take a few pictures with them.

"That was really inspirational for the girls, they were made up by that – and we were really inspired ourselves because Gareth was the one who came over to us."

He added: "Those are the moments when you look back and think 'why we do this', these are the moments that put it into perspective because that is where you are going to inspire the next generation – not just in sport but giving young people the drive to want to do well in life."

The Prince of Wales talks to youngsters in Shrewsbury Town shirts during his visit to St George's Park

Mr Tisdale said the day had reflected the ethos of the foundation – and the values of Shrewsbury Town – to be professional, proactive, passionate, caring, inclusive, and fun.

He said: "We are trying to inspire children from a young age to engage with sport and PE and use the power of PE to give them opportunities and inspire them to better themselves, really instilling the Shrewsbury Town values."

He added: "One moment really stood out for me. I chose someone as our captain and I chose them, not because of football ability but because all the values you want are embedded in them on the pitch.

"That shone when one of their opponents took a tumble and the referee had not stopped the game but our player stopped to pick that child up, and that really shows those values."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News