ILLUSTRATOR HOLDS MASTERCLASS AT THE HUB

Children from St Andrew's Primary School in Cobham met world-famous illustrator Michael Foreman this week as part of the Chelsea FC Foundation's Education Through Football project.

The visit saw pupils take part in a classroom workshop with the award-winning illustrator and children's author, where he described the skills needed to write and draw.

The project centres around one of Foreman's illustrated books, Billy the Kid, which is written by Michael Morpugo. It's the story of a boy called Billy growing up in the 1930s whose dream to play for Chelsea FC is interrupted when war breaks out in Europe with tragic consequences.

Foreman explained how he uses memories of his war-time childhood to create stories and showed children how to paint. He also sketched some cartoons and even had some secret tips for the aspiring artists.

As part of the project, St Andrew's pupils have designed their own versions of the book's cover, which Foreman signed once his workshop was over.

Michael Foreman shows a class how to use colours

'It's good for the children to be told they can create stories themselves and that their lives are just as interesting as anybody else's,' said Foreman.

'They don't have to invent stories about wizards or pirates; they can look closer to home, to their pets, their interests, because they will then be the world authority on that. If it is very personal to them, they know more about it than anybody.

'They can make their pet a superhero, a canary that saved the world perhaps! It's just about giving them the confidence in their own abilities as writers. It's quite often inspirational for me as well,' added the illustrator.

The visit is part of a programme of cross-curricular activities and visits offered free of charge to schools participating in the Chelsea FC Foundation Education Through Football project. The project aims to use the magic and excitement of Chelsea Football Club to impact on education and raise achievement levels as well as improve literacy and writing skills.

The project has been running in London schools for eight years and reached over 6000 Year Five and Six pupils. With additional funding and support from the Premier League Community Fund and Chelsea Football Club, 250 pupils from targeted primary schools in Elmbridge will benefit from the project and visits this term.

Rosie Saunders, Year Six teacher at St Andrew's, said: 'The children's enthusiasm has really shown in the writing they have been doing based on the events that happen in the book, Billy the Kid. It's supporting our own curriculum because they are studying World War II this term.

'Not only is this project helping them with their writing but they're also learning lots of information about what happened during the war, both the good and the bad. They have been so excited about coming here to meet Michael Foreman and it's these sorts of events that will stick in the children's minds forever.'