Pupils meet ex-PM

Dated: 18/07/11'Young people from the Tony Blair Sports Foundation visit the Olympic Park in London. The trip was designed to use the Olympic ethos to inspire more children to become involved in sport and to let young people from the North East feel part of 2012. This picture shows Mr Blair and Lord Coe with children from Rockliffe Primary School in Whitley Bay who took part in the TBSF club school athletics coaching programme with TBSF coach John Renney. #NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia

Dated: 18/07/11'Young people from the Tony Blair Sports Foundation visit the Olympic Park in London. The trip was designed to use the Olympic ethos to inspire more children to become involved in sport and to let young people from the North East feel part of 2012. This picture shows Mr Blair and Lord Coe with children from Rockliffe Primary School in Whitley Bay who took part in the TBSF club school athletics coaching programme with TBSF coach John Renney. #NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia

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SPORTS mad youngsters from a Whitley Bay school have been given the trip of a lifetime to meet a former Prime Minister at the London 2012 Olympic Park.

Rockcliffe Primary School pupils were invited by Tony Blair to meet with him and Lord Seb Coe just weeks after the launch of the ex-PM’s Sports Foundation’s ‘Coaches for Clubs’ campaign.

Inspired by 2012, the campaign sees the foundation team up with schools and sports clubs across the north east to inspire people to become volunteers, coaches and officials in the communities that need them most.

Mr Blair said: “The Olympics is going to be the biggest focus for sport in the whole world for 2012, and that shouldn’t just be about the top-level athletes; it’s also got to be about grassroots sports, and the key to grassroots sports are volunteers and coaches.

“And that’s what the campaign will do: it will inspire people to become volunteers and coaches and that will give thousands of children and young people access to sport.”

The Tony Blair Sports Foundation has worked closely for the past 18 months with North Shields Poly AC to form the North of Tyne Athletics Network (NOTAN).

A total 38 new coaches have been trained through the foundation with the aim of getting local schools and sports clubs working together to encourage more children to take up athletics.

John Renney, a member of North Shields Poly AC, completed his Athletics Coach Award through the foundation and now volunteers his time every Wednesday morning to take athletics sessions with the youngsters at Rockcliffe.

Anyone who wants to get involved or find out more about the foundation campaign should e-mail info@tonyblairsportsfoundation.org