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Middlesbrough ‘Lions’ roar into Scotland

RUGBY Lions are getting ready to roar as four North East schools unite to tackle opposition north of the border.

Lions Rugby Tour 2103 bThree elite players from The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, have joined forces with fellow Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) pupils from Emmanuel College, Gateshead, Bede Academy, Blyth, and Trinity Academy, Thorne, to form a 24-man squad for a week-long rugby tour of Scotland.

Dominic Clare, 15, Curtis Wilson, 16, and Jake Greet, 14, all of Middlesbrough, were elected for the ESF Lions squad to compete in three games against Longridge Towers, Berwick, The High School of Glasgow and North Berwick High School.

Paul Johnson, from The King’s Academy, who has been appointed as assistant coach for the tour, said:

This is the ninth successive year that we have staged the ESF rugby tour selecting  the best under-16s players from each of our four sister schools.

“The commitment shown by the players from The King’s to make it into the final squad really stood out especially 14-year-old Jake Greet who will be playing up a year.

“Being part of The Lions tour is a real privilege for all the students and a great chance to challenge themselves to be the best they can be.”

The team, who all met up at Emmanuel College, Gateshead, before heading off to Scotland, were each presented with a full ESF rugby kit by Emmanuel College assistant head boy Sam Hedley, who took part in the tour last year.

“Being part of the Lions squad last year was really good,” said fly-half Sam, 16.

“You get to play a lot of rugby but there is also plenty time to enjoy yourself and make the most of being together as a team.”

As well as taking part in their own games students will be given a tour of Murrayfield Stadium before watching Edinburgh Rugby take on Benetton Treviso and will also get the opportunity to enjoy an evening bowling and scaling the heights at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena.

Captain of The King’s Academy first team Curtis Wilson, 16, of Middlesbrough, who plays number eight for Middlesbrough Rugby Club, added:

I love playing rugby; it’s a great contact sport and something that keeps me busy on weekends.

“It’s a great honour to be selected for the Lions squad and as well as playing in the games I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone from each of the other schools.”

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Community Group presentation

Community Group boost the hopes of wheelchair users at the King’s Academy with a substantial donation towards the ‘Race for Ramp’ initiative.

Parents and friends of the Academy have been fundraising through various events this last year to help support the conversion of one of the mini buses to accommodate student wheelchairs users.

Community Group presentation leadThe Community Group was formed three years ago to help create a community spirit within the Academy. They meet at regular intervals throughout the year to organise fund raising events within the King’s Academy and the surrounding local community.

On Tuesday 8th October the group presented a cheque for £1,000 to Mr Drew, Principal of The King’s, to help towards the minibus conversion scheme for wheelchair users and £200 towards the three Academy charities.

Karen Smitheringale, Treasurer for the group said:

The main events we support throughout the year are the summer festival, Christmas carol service, charity fashion show, Academy productions and parent evenings. We also organise a pie and pea quiz evening twice a year. These funds make a big difference to students at The King’s and it is our pleasure to present a substantial amount of money to such a worthy cause.”

Charlie Connelly, Year 9 student, added:

It will be great to be able to get onto the bus with my friends when we go out for school trips and events.”

Mr Drew said:

I am absolutely delighted with the £1,000 raised by the Parents’ Community Group.  A lot of hard work, time and energy has gone into raising this sum, and I am grateful for all the efforts of our Community Group.  The money will go towards the conversion of one of our minibuses for wheelchair access, which we hope to have completed by Easter 2014 at the latest.”

This year, the group are raising funds towards a sublimation printer for the Academy textiles department and the building of a pavement, to allow wheelchair access to the newly built High Ropes course.