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Gillespie and Leahy share importance of reading at All Saints

26 January 2018

Saddlers players Mark Gillespie and Luke Leahy joined pupils at All Saints National Academy yesterday to encourage youngsters to read more.

The Walsall pair were introduced to Year 3 pupils at the school in Bloxwich before selected children were given the opportunity to read with the players.

Leahy said: “The standard was excellent. Some of the books were actually quite tricky for that age, but the children all did really well.

“The earlier they can improve their reading, the more it will benefit them as they get older.”

Gillespie and Leahy helped the pupils with any difficult words, read some passages themselves, and also autographed some of students’ reading diaries.

Mark Gillespie is acting as the club’s ambassador for education this season.

He said: “It’s great we can show them how vital reading skills are no matter what you do in life. 

“Even as footballers, reading can be important for things like analysis, and understanding how you can improve.” 

Josie Bagley, Assistant Principal at All Saints National Academy, was pleased the players were able to inspire the seven and eight-year-olds.

She said: “The children loved the opportunity to read with the players from Walsall FC. They said it was amazing and loved showing off their reading skills.”

Paul Larvin, Community Manager for Education, said: “It’s great the players were able to engage with the children in this way.

“Hopefully Luke and Mark’s visit can give the children that extra push, and make them want to read a little bit more.”

All Saints National Academy is also a Walsall FC Partner School, who receive first option on player appearances. Find out more about our School Partners scheme at

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