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Sir Bobby Charlton launches latest Foundation partner school in Oldham

Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton and his wife Lady Norma visited The Oldham Academy North in Royton today to launch an official partnership with Manchester United Foundation.

| by Haylee Blease

Sir Bobby and Lady Norma Charlton launch latest Manchester United Foundation partner school in Oldham

The Oldham Academy North is one of twenty partner schools to benefit from such a partnership through the Foundation’s partner school programme, which bases full-time coaches in schools to work with pupils, local primary schools and within the community to build lasting relationships and reputations.

The couple toured the school’s facilities, visiting PE sessions on the outdoor 3G pitch before viewing some of the impressive designs in the school’s art department, with art teacher Mr Fox presenting Sir Bobby with a special hand painted picture of him in action during his footballing days. The school also put on a special presentation assembly to honour Sir Bobby’s achievements and were treated to performances from a group of dancers and the school choir, plus speeches from headteacher Martin Knowles and Foundation CEO John Shiels.

Year 11 students Hanifah and Rahimur had the honour of showing off their school alongside headteacher Martin Knowles and were thrilled with their experience: “It’s a great honour to meet a legend who has won the World Cup, European Cup and is Manchester United’s all-time scorer”, said Rahimur.  “My brother is a huge Manchester United fan and will be so jealous.”

Hanifah echoed her peer’s thoughts: “I was gobsmacked when I saw him; I was really anxious but they are so nice and very down to earth.”

Foundation coach Rob Field is based full-time within the school and explained the impact the visit will have: “It’s been a phenomenal launch; I think it will have a massive impact on the students and hopefully inspire the kids to do well in various different aspects of their life.”

Headteacher Martin Knowles was beaming with pride and said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic; the vibe around the Academy has been incredible so many students have staff in awe. To have someone of that stature show that if you work hard you can achieve anything is fantastic.”

He concluded: “We’re in the early stages of our partnership but its already having a huge effect; our Year 8 and 9 football teams are winning after being coached by the Foundation, we now also have a girls football team and we are looking to collaborate with other Foundation partner schools to give more experiences to as many young people as we can.”