The couple, who married in Middleton in 1961, returned to the town to launch the Foundation’s tenth partner high school through its Hub of the Community programme. The scheme bases full time coaches in local schools to work with the pupils, staff, local primary schools and within the community to build lasting relationships and reputations.
During the launch event, Sir Bobby and Lady Norma enjoyed a tour of the school and took part in a Q&A with selected pupils. The former Reds striker even took part in a penalty shoot-out with a year 11 PE class, to the delight of the pupils.
“It was brilliant, really inspiring,” said Ben Bentley. “To have such a legend come to just a normal school; it’s not every day that happens.”
Head teacher Allison Crompton explained the importance of the partnership to Middleton Technology School: “Sir Bobby Charlton and Manchester United encapsulate, for us, everything that our school is about. We are ‘in pursuit of excellence’ so when we look at Sir Bobby, his desire and his relentless pursuit of excellence can only be a beacon for us and we want our children and everyone that works here to be able to emulate that, to say ‘we can be successful’.”
Mrs Crompton continued, “We’re hoping that through the partnership we can bring lots of dimensions. We are particularly interested in engaging those children who are the hardest to reach and find school a struggle and hope that through working with Manchester United that they become more motivated.”
To close the event, Sir Bobby and Lady Norma unveiled a plaque in the playground in front of the whole school as the pupils released celebratory balloons.
The Reds legend commented, “To maintain ties with local communities is a natural thing to do; and Manchester United is good at what we do. Coming here today with the Foundation is just sensational, you just have to look at the pupils to see what they think about the club and I feel really glad about that. Of course to come back to Middleton is special for both of us as well, we looked forward to it.”
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