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England football star comes to Pear Tree Mead

Lifestyle / Tue 24th Nov 2015 at 10:00am

Pear Tree FootENGLAND and Chelsea Ladies defender Claire Rafferty helped to inspire a future generation of female footballers recently when she attended Pear Tree Mead Academy in Harlow to sign autographs and pose for photos with students.

32 girls aged between seven and eleven enjoyed a question and answer session on Friday 13th November with Claire for 45 minutes, followed by a photo opportunity. Claire had her FA Cup and World Cup medals with her, which the youngsters were able to hold. Everyone then went outside for a skills session, including a fun kickabout with the Lionesses star.

Laura Tyler, PE Coordinator at Pear Tree Mead, was keen to for a famous player to visit and, when it became a reality, she reacted: “A few of our students are Chelsea fans, so they were particularly excited to meet Claire and to see her medals! The girls found her really approachable and felt instantly at ease so they were asking her really well thought out questions.”

“They couldn’t believe they were watching Claire in Canada and at Wembley Stadium in the summer, and now she was having a kickaround with them in their school! It’s important to have role models as they are then inspired to continue with their love of football and they understand they must work hard to achieve success. It makes them more determined to achieve their ambitions and they form positive opinions of female footballers.”

After earning seven caps for the England Under 19s team, playing in the FIFA Women’s Under 20s World Cup in 2008 and turning out twice for the Under 23s, Claire made her full England debut against Austria in March 2010. She later made her World Cup Finals debut as an 81st-minute substitute against France in the Quarter-Finals.

Laura added: “Football is an important part of our activities at Pear Tree Mead. We have a year three to six girls football club and we play in many girls football tournaments and fixtures. Recently the years five and six won a Harlow Futsal Tournament. It was lovely for the girls, who love playing football, to meet a female World Cup bronze medal winner and listen to her story of how she overcame obstacles in order to achieve what she has.”

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