Sunderland AFC stars celebrate World Book Day with school children
Around 100 primary school pupils from the Jarrow and Sunderland area celebrated World Book Day at the Beacon of Light on Thursday afternoon (March 5).
From Alice in Wonderland to the Cat in the Hat, a plethora of literature heroes were on show as the children dressed up for the even - and they were joined by Sunderland's Jordan Willis and Lynden Gooch.
The event, delivered by Sunderland's charity arm the Foundation of Light in partnership with the Premier League Primary Stars scheme, saw Dame Dorothy, Southwick and Jarrow Cross primary schools in attendance to take part in various activities and challenges as part of the day.
Inspired by Michael Rosen's 'We're going on a Bear Hunt,' the children went in search of SAFC mascot Samson as well as baking biscuits and taking part in a football coaching session. All the activities were geared towards inspiring the love of reading and books.
Joining them for part of the afternoon with Sunderland stars Willis and Gooch, who took part in the coaching session, posed for photos and signed autographs for the children as the event came to an end.
Sunderland defender Jordan Willis said: "I think it helps open up children's imagination, you know growing up myself reading books characters inspire you so days like World Book Day are massively important."
"At an event like this you've got to have fun, to get to join in with the kids today was great."
Danielle Chapman, Premier League Primary Stars Education Coordinator, who led the event added: "What we like to do is give the children experiences they might not be able to have in school, so taking what they read and bringing it to the Beacon (of Light) and make it much more practical.
"We work on how they are going to use reading not just in school but in life.
Competition was fierce for the costume of the day and Willis marveled at one particular outfit:
"I really enjoyed the Hulk outfit, I think he stole the show from me."