Local youngsters were thrilled to meet Chelsea's Reading Champion for 2008/9 at the Chelsea Hub last week.

Hilario talked to the children about Owl Babies, his choice of children's book for this year's Premier League Reading Stars project. The PLRS project is underway in Chelsea, Pimlico and Kensington Libraries and uses the power of football to encourage families to enjoy reading together.

The sessions are run by local librarians who receive support from the National Literacy Trust and the Premier League clubs.Hilario's adult book choice was Paul Canoville's award-winning autobiography, Black and Blue.

Hilario said that reading was a great way to get his children relaxed at bedtime. He reads to his children in both English and Portuguese and enjoys reading Portuguese books in his spare time.H (as he is known to his team mates) also answered questions from the group and said that he absolutely loves living in London.

H in the Hub

The group were interested to hear how he wanted to be a goalkeeper from a young age and being taller than his classmates was a great help! He told the children that if you want to be a top footballer you have to work really hard in training and that all aspects of studies at school can be useful for the future.

After the question and answer session, Hilario played a game of table football with his delighted fans and talked to them individually while they were working on the computer.

Ricky Wicks, aged 10, who comes from a big family of Chelsea fans said he couldn't wait to get home to show off his Hilario autograph.

Suzi Raymond, Chelsea FC education manager thanked the player for coming to the Hub and said: 'It makes a real difference when children see that their footballing heroes enjoy reading. Boys especially benefit from being read to by dads and older men in their families. We really appreciate Hilario coming today and his support and encouragement.'