Students from a Kirk Hallam school were thrilled to meet a legend of England rugby union on a visit to Twickenham as part of a lifeskills programme.
World cup winner Jonny Wilkinson surprised the group of girls from Kirk Hallam Community Academy award during a tour of the national stadium on July 12.
He was there to present them with the Sky Sports Living for Sport Project of the Year award for their work on a scheme which uses sport to help young people build practical skills, self-confidence, school attendance and career aspirations.
Jonny said: “The girls of Kirk Hallam Community Academy have demonstrated great commitment to their project and fantastic enthusiasm for learning new sports. They are all worthy winners of the award.
“Sport has an important role in teaching key life skills to young people and Sky Sports Living for Sport provides the tools to make this fun and engaging for students across the UK and Ireland.”
The pupils were then treated to a masterclass from the former England and Lions fly-half as he ran through key rugby skills and techniques.
The school’s former head of physical education Lorraine Stone started running Living for Sport projects to help improve academic performance of pupil premium students.
The 17 participating Year 10 girls got to try out 11 sports provided by local clubs and coaches, with extra mentoring from former heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne.
After completing the project, members of the group saw a rise in attendance, academic performance and self-esteem.
Lorraine said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for the girls to be awarded the project of the year award, I am so thrilled for them.
“The Sky Sports Living for Sport programme has made an unbelievable difference to the lives these students and resulted in an improved attitude to learning.”
For further information on the programme and how to sign up, visit www.skysports.com/livingforsport.