Ipswich: Town players JET and Sonko visit Thomas Wolsey School to meet the pupils
IPSWICH: They may have achieved their goals but two Ipswich Town players are today helping a group of young football fans realise their own dreams.
More used to watching their heroes play on the hallowed turf at Portman Road, pupils at Thomas Wolsey School in Defoe Road, Ipswich, were overjoyed to watch them play in their very own playground.
Brimming with excitement the youngsters welcomed two of the club’s first team regulars, former Arsenal midfielder Jay Emmanual-Thomas, known as JET to the Blue Army, and central defender Ibrahima Sonko.
The Town duo visited the school for children with additional needs, as part of a new initiative between the club and schools in Ipswich.
Having first visited the children at Thomas Wolsey a few weeks ago, the pair were not scheduled to make a return trip until after Christmas.
But so enthusiastic were the players that they asked to return ahead of schedule.
They showed off their skills, helping the children improve theirs, playing football in the playground before joining in with festive dancing and activities in the classroom.
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Deputy headteacher Sandra Davy said the growing friendship between the players and pupils encourages the children “to hold on to their dreams and hopes for the future”.
Describing the pupils’ delighted faces light up when they were reunited with their heroes, Mrs Davy said the partnership between club and school has given the children two inspiring role models.
“Lots of the children here are football fans,” she said. “They were all so excited, two classes in particular were beside themselves.
“They are real role models. One of the children has problems with his literacy and so he is going to start writing to one of the players, as pen pals to help encourage his reading and writing.
“It is a fantastic initiative, they were both so good with the kids, so kind and gentle. They visited the nursery as well as every class, it was lovely to see. It was a special time for the pupils.
“Having them here helps our children keep hold of their dreams, they see what the players have achieved and even if they can’t play football for their country it inspires them to grab their dreams and make them a reality.”
For the Town stars, they are now counting down until their next visit.
Sonko said: “We are really enjoying our involvement with Thomas Wolsey School.
“The children and staff are great and make us feel very welcome every time we visit. Both myself and Jay are already looking forward to our next visit in the New Year.”
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