Wakefield school send letters of support to England players following Euros defeat and racist abuse
A dedicated class of Wakefield football fans have sent messages of support to England's football team, following a defeat at Euro 2020 and days of abuse aimed at the players.
Pupils at Ossett's South Parade Primary School wrote the letters to their footballing heroes on Monday, after returning to school following Sunday's Euro 2020 final.
The Three Lions lost the match to Italy following a game that went to both extra time and penalties.
In the days since, many members of the team have spoken out after receiving racist abuse on social media, and condemned those responsible for the hateful messages.
It was responding to this abuse, and comforting the players following their loss, that inspired the South Parade pupils to put together their own messages of support.
Year 3 teacher Sarah Marsden said: "I’m actually isolating at the moment, so I’ve been Zooming them.
“Monday morning I asked how they were and they said they were sad and tired because they’d been watching the football.
"It just turned into a conversation about how do you think the players are feeling and I explained there are some people being a bit unkind to the players. So I asked how we could make them feel a bit better."
Inspired by conversations about the game and players' achievements, the class set out to send their messages of support to the England players.
Over the course of the day, they produced almost 30 of the letters, which will now be posted to the England team.
Sarah said: "They were so lovely when they were discussing it. They were giving little pep talks. I told them about Marcus Rashford and the things that he’s done.
“They’re unique and the things that they thought of. It’s obviously things that they hear all the time.
“They were so excited to write them. It really helped them because they were so tired, I don’t think we’d have managed to get much else done to such a high standard. It was all they could talk about.”
In the letters, the South Parade pupils shared their favourite memories from the tournament, with Luke Shaw’s record-breaking goal two minutes into the game, the tiny remote control car which was responsible for delivering the ball onto the pitch and the quirky outfits from members of the crowd all earning an appearance.
They also praised the actions of members of the team off the pitch, including Marcus Rashford's free school meal campaign.
One of the letters, addressed to “Gareth Southgate and your awesome team”, reads: “You have been an inspiration to me and my class. It has been great.
“You have inspired me to help others.”
Another, from year 3 student Ryan, says: “After a tough couple of years you made millions of people excited and gave us hope.
“You brought people together after making it into the first major final in 55 yaers. That is something that we need to now thank you for."