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Perez Gets Match Fit At Local Primary School

Newcastle United striker Ayoze Perez has been passing his expert fitness tips on to local children as part of a community wellbeing course operated by Newcastle United Foundation.

Perez took time out after training with the Magpies to surprise children at Newcastle’s Stocksfield Avenue Primary School, popping into classrooms to meet excited youngsters and joining in with games during PE class as they participate in the Foundation’s Match Fit programme.

Operated in partnership with Northumbria University, Match Fit combines fitness, football and a nutrition programme for children aged 7-11, teaching them the good habits which all sports professionals must stick to.  As part of the six-week course, children participate in an hour of theory in the classroom followed by an hour of physical activity.

 Professor Greta Defeyter, Director of Healthy Living, a research unit in Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University spoke of the Foundation programme:

 “As an interdisciplinary team of academics we are delighted to be working with Newcastle United Foundation in evaluating the effectiveness of their Match Fit programme.

“We have been impressed by how much notice children take of health related messages delivered by Premiership footballers.”

Andrew Dobby, match fit coordinator at the Foundation said:

“It was great to have Ayoze join us in a Match Fit session. He interacted with the children really well and as you would expect, he showed off some great skills during a game of football cricket.

“Footballers are big role models and are incredibly influential so his advice will be invaluable in helping the children to learn good habits and to make healthy choices as they get older.”

Ayoze and the children were joined by BBC presenter Ricky Boleto and cameras from Newsround – a national news programme aimed at children aged 6-12 – which will broadcast the visit as part of an investigation into childhood obesity in March 2015.

Newsround also popped along to the Newcastle United Academy – home of the club’s young players – to meet children from another local school, Wingrove Primary.

The children met United’s academy chef Ainslie Richardson and sports scientist Adam Rowan, studying why healthy eating combined with an active lifestyle is important.

John Rutter, PE Coordinator at Wingrove Primary said:

“The children are thoroughly enjoying the Match Fit programme and getting the chance to work with Newcastle United Foundation in school. We are a very PE-orientated school and aim to encourage all pupils to lead healthy active lifestyles.

“After a few weeks of the programme we are already seeing the impact it is having on some of our children’s health. The chance to visit NUFC’s Academy for a special session with the club’s full time staff was great. The children are really looking forward to seeing themselves on TV.”

Match Fit has already reached more than 10,000 participants since it was launched in 2008, with 71% of participants improving their knowledge and 67% improving their physical fitness.

To find out more about Match Fit, please email Andrew Dobby at

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