Sale Sharks rugby stars Josh Strauss and Cameron Neild were the surprise guests at a college in Altrincham, dropping in with 200 free tickets to the club’s upcoming game against Saracens.
Scotland international Strauss and hooker Cameron Neild both visited Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College (BTHCC) along with one of the club’s key sponsors, Printerland, to hand over the tickets and chat to some of the college’s young sports students.
The giveaway marked the successful re-launch of a popular community inclusion project being run by Printerland – the UK’s largest re-seller of printers, ink cartridges and toners – aiming to introduce more young people in the North West to the game of rugby.
Over the past three seasons, 6,000 tickets have been given away to schools, community groups and charities across the region, and the firm plans to give away another 2,000 tickets this season.
Khalil Hussain, operations manager at Printerland, said: “It was fantastic to surprise pupils from BTHCC with Sale Sharks tickets and an appearance from Josh and Cameron.
“Community engagement is integral to our role as key sponsors for Sale Sharks and supports our message of inclusion through sport.
“We look forward to continuing this work with other schools and community groups across the region as the season progresses.”
Mark Cueto, Commercial Director at Sale Sharks, added: “Printerland have been a fantastic supporter of the club so it was a pleasure to help them kick off their inclusion programme again this season with the help of Josh and Cameron.
“I know the children in the school were happy to see a couple of our first team players walking around the building and hopefully this event can inspire some of them to go on and achieve success in their studies and their careers.
“We’re looking forward to seeing them in the Printerland stand for the Saracens match in November.”
In addition to the tickets, the Sharks stars handed over a framed shirt for the school and took part in a 45-minute question and answer session with the students to offer some insight into the world of elite-level rugby.
John Cornally, Headteacher at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College, said, “Having our local rugby union team drop in to the school and speak to so many of our students has been amazing.
“We have a brilliant base here – lots of the children are interested and engaged with sports and we have some huge Sale Sharks fans too – so I’m sure this will be something they’ll remember for a long time to come.
“There were some fantastic questions from the students too and I am so pleased that the players discussed persistence, resilience and motivation in sport. That positive attitude is something we try to instil in our pupils and I think hearing that from the players will really leave a lasting impression on them.
“Our sincere thanks go to Printerland as well for their generosity with the ticket giveaway and their continued focus on community engagement. Our students can’t wait for the game!”