Former England Rugby Captain visits Gainsborough

Former England Rugby Captain Dylan Hartley signing a rugby ball at Gainsborough Academy

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Students from Gainsborough Academy were given a ‘pep talk’ from former England Rugby Captain Dylan Hartley who made a special trip to the town this week.

Excited pupils were given an opportunity to meet the national sports star, get their rugby balls signed and ask questions during his visit.

Student, Owen Hunt (13) was keen to source some fitness tips from Dylan. He said: “If there was one thing I will take away from talking to Dylan, it is about enjoying the game and practising my skills rather than thinking I need to go to the gym. It was great to meet him and he advised us all to be confident and remember that it is good to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.”

Dylan, who used to play for Northampton Saints visited the school as part of a tour of sites around Gainsborough and Lincoln, helping to highlight development opportunities in the region.

Steve Gelder Chairman of the Gainsborough Place Board, organised the visit as part of a comprehensive vision and £18 million Invest Gainsborough Plan for the town centre. He said: “It’s great that Dylan is able to use his profile to help raise awareness of the area and our work to highlight investment opportunities in Gainsborough, which are showcased in our brochure. The students were in awe of Dylan, and what he said really motivated them to make positive changes in their lives”

Chairman of West Lindsey District Council Cllr Steve England and the Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Giles McNeill welcomed Dylan to the town.

Students were able to gain valuable insight into Dylan’s career as they quizzed him on the high and low points and he offered advice to the budding sports stars and reflected on his rigorous training schedule prior to retirement.

He added: “If the students take one thing away from today, it’s that you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to learn from your mistakes. Don’t just do the easy thing, sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do.”

Head of PE at Gainsborough Academy, Chris Mills said the pupils were excited about the visit, with some inspired to begin training right away in an effort to improve their skills. He said: “We hope meeting Dylan will inspire the next generation of Rugby players, his successes demonstrate the value of hard work.”

Assistant Principal Joanna Phillips thanked the Gainsborough Place Board for the opportunity the visit gave students. She said: “Meeting people like Dylan makes a big difference to our pupils’ lives and provides them with positive role models.”