Diversity the winner at Burnley youth football tournament
Diversity was the winner when children from different communities across Burnley took part in a multi-faith football tournament.
The annual Burnley FC Building Bridges Community Cup Football Tournament, held at the Spirit of Sport, saw Year 7 and 8 children from local schools, mosques and churches build friendships on the football field.
All those that took part were later given the opportunity of making up a 100-strong pitchside guard of honour at Turf Moor before Burnley Football Club's recent home match against Huddersfield Town. Clarets players warmed up for the match wearing 'One Club for All' t-shirts.
David Baldwin, chief executive of Burnley FC, said: “This year, we want to demonstrate to fans – through the stories of a range of people connected to our club – that Burnley FC is an open and welcoming place, full of opportunity.
"We want to make it unequivocally clear that Burnley FC is one club for all. However, this week, we want to celebrate how far we’ve come as a club in recent years – we believe that, as Clarets, there is a great deal to be proud of and to celebrate.”
Year 7 pupil Harry Jackson was chosen as a diversity champion, who showed the true spirit of what the day was about, while the player of the tournament was Oliver Hodgson. Both received medals.
Former Burnley councillor and a director/trustee of Building Bridges in Burnley Mozaquir Ali said: "The tournament was brilliant this year with the excitement of everyone being able to go into Turf Moor to participate in the diversity one club launch.
"What an excellent expression of unity and solidarity among communities. Through all this we are sowing the seeds of friendship among future generations that should flourish over the years to come."
Coun. Beatrice Foster said: "What a fantastic day it was. Such a joy to see young people from all communities, enjoying themselves together, playing and watching football."
Coun. Afrasiab Anwar said: "It was a pleasure to be a part of this brilliant event. The children arrived from different schools, mosques, clubs and parts of the town not knowing each other.
"They were placed into mixed teams and it was great to see them interact and build friendships and an understanding. They worked together to try to win. In the end the only colour that matters is the colour of the shirt. I would also like to thank Burnley FC in the Community for their commitment to the project and to diversity."