Each year a student at Packmoor Ormiston Academy is chosen for the George Pilkington Award for Literacy. This is down to their hard work and initiative shown in literacy. This years winner was Year 6 student, Ethan Holdcroft, and he was presented the award by former Vale defender, Adam Yates.
The George Pilkington Award first came about in 2007, where the academy looked to improve literacy and hoped bringing in a well known figure who could help inspire the students more.
Retired Community School Governor, Richard Heath, reached out to former Port Vale manager Martin Foyle with his idea, and was immediately pointed in the direction of club captain George Pilkington who had no hesitation in helping the students at the academy.
Speaking to Vale at the presentation today, Mr Heath had very fond memories of how Pilkington helped the students.
"George turned up a week early, that's how keen he was to do it. He came back and he went to do the initial six weeks, and after that he came and asked 'how many more weeks have I got to do before I finish the school?'. We told him and he came back twice a week until he finished.
"He carried onto after the season had finished whilst the rest of his teammates had gone on holiday. He carried on coming into school until he was finished and then he went and signed 450 autographs.
"The most important thing was to improve the children's literacy. One parent came up and thanked us as her son was now reading at night. We wanted to make sure the children understood the importance of literacy and reading."
Councillor Janine Bridges who was also present at the presentation, says the award has been a huge benefit for the children and inspiring for them.
"It's been part of our literacy strategy and an integral part of it, and it's been rolled out across the city. It's been extremely important in getting children to start reading, looking at books, being a bit more resilient and being in charge of their own education.
"It's been a fantastic opportunity for them and it's been a fantastic initiative that's been rolled out."
The club would like to congratulate Ethan on receiving this award and look forward to seeing him at one of our matches once the season begins!