Football star Lily Simkin pays inspirational visit to her former primary school

A football star has paid an inspirational visit to a primary school in the West Midlands.

Lily Simkin with Lexi Warrington, 6, Bethan Hawkins, 6, Freya Preston, 10, Eden Guest, 11 and Jessica Jeavons 9
Lily Simkin with Lexi Warrington, 6, Bethan Hawkins, 6, Freya Preston, 10, Eden Guest, 11 and Jessica Jeavons 9

Birmingham City's Lily Simkin visited pupils at her former school, Landywood Primary School in Great Wyrley, Staffordshire.

The 18-year-old received a warm welcome from her young fans where she did a meet and greet with the children, shared some footballing tips and presented a signed Birmingham City football shirt.

Lily, whose face is currently on the front of the Blues stadium, patiently answered pupils’ questions which ranged from asking her favourite food to what she enjoys most about being a footballer, to which she answered: "inspiring others and playing as part of a team."

During the Q and A, children learned that Lily has enjoyed playing football in the garden of her childhood home from the age of three and was inspired by her footballing father, Darren Simkin, who played for Wolves and Shrewsbury Town during his career.

As a three year old, Lily was desperate to join the team her older brother played for and was set challenges by the team's coach which further heightened her love of football.

She said: "I have many happy memories of my time at Landywood, it has been amazing to go back to the school, feel that familiar buzz and to be able to help inspire a new generation of athletes.

"It’s great to see the continued commitment from the school and staff to support, encourage and inspire young people with sports."

Pupil and football enthusiast, Jessica Jeavons, 9, added: "It’s a really exciting experience meeting Lily in person, I’ve seen her in pictures but never in real life.

"I learned a lot from Lily today, including how to change tactics when playing against harder teams and easier teams."

As well as learning more about Lily herself, pupils learned crucial footballing tips such as what to eat before a match.

Having recently returned from injury, Lily talked to the children about the importance of being resilient when things don’t go their way and talked about the importance of looking after mental health and who she talks to if she has a problem.

Lily joined the Birmingham City RTC at the age of 10 while at Landywood and is now a fully-fledged member of the First Team squad after completing her progression through the RTC and Academy ranks.

Landywood’s Sports Coach, James Sellman, said: "Lily is an inspiration to us all showing exactly what can be achieved with hard work and determination.

"We are very proud of Lily’s achievements and delighted that she’s taken time from her busy training schedule to visit Landywood and inspire our children today."

"Our children can really relate to Lily as a former pupil of the school who was once in their shoes.

"Her success sends a powerful message to our children of what they can achieve with focus and commitment, Lily is an excellent role model for them to look up to.”

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