Former England and Great Britain rugby captain Jamie Peacock challenges Sunderland pupils to “be the best version of yourself”

On the Rugby pitch Jamie Peacock captained both England and Great Britain and today (March 14) he was at Academy 360 in Pennywell to speak with children and launch the school’s Be a Champion initiative to promote well-being and maximising potential.

By Neil Fatkin
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 4:55 am

Jamie MBE, who also played for Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos during a distinguished trophy-laden career, spoke with pupils about the significance of both physical and metal well-being in has career and challenged the children to set their own goals and targets as part of the 30 day programme.

Relaying the mantra to “be the best version of yourself”, pupils set themselves a range of initial challenges based around punctuality, extra-curricula participation, positivity and participation in lessons.

Following Jamie’s assembly, the pupils also set themselves targets to improve their mental and physical well-being outside of school.

In a months time, Jamie will be returning to the school to see what progress the children have made and to work with smaller groups of pupils.

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He said: “Be a Champion is all about being the best you can be in all different aspects of life by making a few small changes. There’s definitely a mental side to success in terms of developing good habits of self-discipline.

"A big barrier to children and young people can be a lack of self-belief and I want to relay the message that they can be a success. I wasn’t the most talented player but there were certain things I did which allowed me to be the best I could be.

Former England and Great Britain rugby captain, Jamie Peacock, talking with Academy 360 pupils Lucca Loughton, Tia Maddison, and Lowie Minchella. Picture by FRANK REID.

"These were principles which enabled me to be successful in my rugby career and can be transferred to all aspects of life.”

Regarded as one of the “greatest Rugby League players of his generation”, Jamie hopes his achievements on the pitch can help inspire a new generation of youngsters.

He added: “I’m fortunate in that it is probably easier to get the pupils’ respect because of what I achieved in sport but the messages you deliver still have to be right ones. I love working with children and coming into this school in particular.

"It’s all about planting those seeds which they can use for the rest of their lives.”

Former England rugby captain Jamie Peacock talking with Academy 360 pupil Crimson-Jessica French. Picture by FRANK REID.

It’s a sentiment shared by the school’s Principal, Rachel Donohue, who added: “It’s these characteristics of dedication, determination and self-belief which allowed Jamie to become a world class rugby player and can help us all to achieve personal success.”

Meeting Jamie certainly seemed to have the desired effect on the pupils.

Year 6 pupil, Tia Maddison, 11, said: “It was both exciting and overwhelming to meet Jamie. One of the targets I have set myself is to go to bed at 9.30pm rather than 10pm and to mute all my electronics.

Former England and Great Briatin rugby captain, Jamie Peacock, has been visiting Academy 360 to help inspire the children to be the "best version of themselves". Picture by FRANK REID.

"This will help me get a better night’s sleep. I always work better in school when I have had a good sleep.”

Classmate Lowie Minchella, 10, added: “It was exciting to meet Jamie and it’s really important to be fit and healthy. A lot of people got lazy during the pandemic and were out of the habit of doing things.

"One of my targets is to stay off my computer games for two hours before I go to bed to help me get a good night’s sleep.”

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