A group of pupils from a Partington school say they are now dedicated Sale Sharks fans after they attended their first ever match at the AJ Bell Stadium as guests of club partner Printerland.
The 19 pupils from Forest Gate Academy took in Sharks Premiership Rugby Cup win against Newcastle Falcons, and even made it onto the pitch for a photo to remember in front of the AO Stand.
The trip to the AJ Bell was the first time the 8 to 11 year-olds had been on a school trip since the first lockdown in 2020.
And the experience of the AJ Bell Stadium’s Friday Night Lights made such an impression on the youngsters that they are now desperate to come back.
Forest Gate Academy is one of the 9 schools in North West schools taking part in a healthy eating programme run by the Sharks Community Trust.
The six-week programme includes classroom sessions designed to educate youngsters on healthy eating, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and how to make healthy choices, which are followed by an hour tag of rugby.
Georgie Perris-Redding, Sharks’ Community Programme Manager, said: “It was fantastic to welcome everyone from Forest Gate down to the AJ Bell.
“We know a lot of young people have missed out on school trips since the start of the pandemic so it was great to be able to give everyone a night to remember, thanks to Printerland.
“Many of them had never been to a live sporting event before, let alone a rugby match, and they’ve all said they’d love to come back! They’ve all said they’re going to be big fans of the club from now on.”
Altrincham-based Printerland have been a long-standing partner of Sale Sharks having first agreed a deal back in 2004 to sponsor the Cheadle End of the club’s former home ground at Edgeley Park, before becoming official Family Stand sponsors at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2016.
Last year they extended their deal with club, which sees Printerland continue to deliver an inclusivity programme in the local region, supported by the Sharks Community Trust.
More than 10,000 match-day tickets have been given away to local charities in recent years by Printerland with the programme designed to introduce underrepresented groups in the North West to the game of rugby.