Latics stars spread Christmas cheer at Hope School

It was a memorable afternoon for pupils at Hope School on Thursday as Wigan Athletic players Reece James, Cedric Kipre, Gavin Massey and Kal Naismith visited the school for a special Christmas visit.

They met more than 50 children and handed out presents and signed Latics merchandise ahead of this year’s festivities, as well as posing for photographs with some of their biggest fans.

A number of pupils at the school met Gavin in the club’s new Blue Room before the recent home fixture against Reading, with the facility a designated pre-match area in the Family Zone for Latics’ junior disabled supporters and their families to enjoy inclusive activities.

Speaking at the event, Gavin said: “It’s a wonderful school and the work the staff do is absolutely incredible so it was great for us to come along to meet the kids. To put smiles on their faces was excellent and I’d like to wish everyone connected to the school a very Merry Christmas.

He added: “I recognised a few faces from when I visited the Blue Room and they seemed to remember me too, so it was nice to come to their environment to surprise them.”

Latics have had an association with the school, based in Marus Bridge in Wigan, for over a decade with the club’s Community Trust delivering multi-sport sessions to pupils each week as part of their Every Player Counts disability sports programme.

Pauline Lynch, Deputy Head Teacher at Hope School, said: “We really appreciate the link we have with Latics and the Community Trust and it’s always a fabulous occasion for our school when the players visit us. They probably don’t realise how much of an impact they have on pupils, but their visits give them lasting memories and we’re incredibly grateful for that.”

Please email Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Disability Football Officer Joe Pym on j.pym@wiganathletic.com or call 01942 318090 for more information about the Every Player Counts project and Blue Room.