As school days go, Thursday will live long in the memory of Year 6 pupils at Servite Primary. Eden Hazard made a surprise appearance at their school.
As part of the Chelsea Foundation’s ongoing education and diversity programmes, which include sessions as part of the Say No To Antisemitism campaign, pupils from the Fulham-based school were taking part in a Foundation-led Diversity and Equality Workshop on Thursday morning when the Belgian star interrupted their session, much to the surprise of the children.
When the shocked reactions of the children lessened, Hazard took part in a Q&A session and listened to their diversity- and equality-themed poems before presenting the school with a signed shirt and posing for photographs.
Hazard said: ‘I’ve been here today to listen to the children read their poems about discrimination.
‘It was great fun and it was very good to hear them speak about that and I’m very happy to have been able to spend the time with them.
‘Children watch a lot of football so it is important to be a good image for them.
‘Around the world we do see discrimination so we try to talk about that because we need to. If we can help them to learn things about life then it’s good.
‘It’s very important that the Chelsea Foundation do these type of things and talk with the kids about equality and discrimination, and to be part of that with them today makes me happy.’
Claude Gauci, head of Servite Primary, said: ‘The work the Foundation is doing is key. This community is so diverse and mixed, with different religions and cultures and so it’s huge that Chelsea are working really hard to ensure that there is awareness about diversity and equality.
‘It has been amazing to have Eden Hazard come and visit. We are the nearest school to the club and we have such a close bond but to have someone like him come here is a great thing.
‘It’s made everyone so upbeat, it truly has been brilliant.’
Prior to surprising the Year 6 pupils, Hazard had some fun and games with some of those in Year 4 who had previously taken part in the Foundation sessions.
The Belgian hid behind a curtain as they read out their poems before surprising the delighted kids and giving feedback on their work – as well as some fun football chat!
Olivia, who is a huge Chelsea supporter and was one of two pupils chosen to receive the signed shirt from Hazard, described the moment the surprise was revealed.
She said: ‘We were talking about diversity and equality and then Eden Hazard walked in! I was very shocked!
‘We got to ask him questions about if he had ever been discriminated against or if there was a real-life scenario and what he would do.
She added: ‘I learnt today what discrimination means and about it happening to other people and I’ve also learnt what Chelsea Foundation want to happen so that everyone has a better experience.
‘We also learnt about antisemitism, which is being racist to Jewish people and how the Chelsea Foundation want to stop that.’
Click to learn more about our education and diversity programmes