Cesc Fabregas welcomes Sunderland footballers - in Downing Street!

Hugh Thompson, of Street League, Arsenal and Spain star Cesc Fabregas with Steven Kimberley and Joseph Zahra at Downing Street as part of their graduation ceremony

Hugh Thompson, of Street League, Arsenal and Spain star Cesc Fabregas with Steven Kimberley and Joseph Zahra at Downing Street as part of their graduation ceremony

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TWO Wearside lads met the Prime Minister and football superstar Cesc Fabregas at a special graduation ceremony in Downing Street.

Steven Kimberley and Joseph Zahra visited London after completing the Street League programme at Sunderland University’s CitySpace facility.

David Cameron and Arsenal midfielder Fabregas were both on hand to congratulate the pair on their achievement.

Street League is a charity which uses the power of football to run education and development courses for disadvantaged people.

Both Steven and Joseph have struggled with a number of social issues but said they have used the organisation to help get their lives back on track.

Steven had a drink problem after the loss of both parents but says he has now been able to get past the problem.

The 23-year-old, from Sunderland, said: “It’s been a really hard couple of years, but Street League has put me back on track and I’m moving on. I have been accepted into college and have a part-time job.

“My health and well-being have improved immensely too.”

Speaking about their trip to the Capital, Joseph, 23, from Houghton, said: “It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

He added: “Fabregas said well done and congratulations and I managed to get a chat with him inside Downing Street.

“We had lunch in the back garden of Number 10 and it was just great to get this recognition for our hard work over the course of the programme.”

Steven said: “I was at Downing Street yesterday and back at work in Sunderland today.

“I got to shake hands with the Prime Minister, and Cesc gave us our certificates.

“Cesc was really great and had a lot of time for everybody.”

Twitter: @davidallison88