Schoolgirl success!

Bella’s on the ball

Bella Shields has recently completed her first season as a fully qualified football referee. Bella, who is 14 and attends Oxted School, began refereeing games of mini-soccer for local clubs in the Tandridge and Reigate area. She saw this as a way of giving something back to the game that she also enjoys playing.

From this, Bella decided she wanted to learn more, and embarked on a referee’s course with Surrey FA. While on the course, she impressed the FA’s representatives with her knowledge, and her ability to preside over the games with confidence. She was then asked to officiate youth academy games at Premier League clubs such as Chelsea and Fulham, and was also part of a team of officials used by Surrey FA in their youth cup finals, which were played at Dorking’s Meadowbank Stadium in May.

Bella is the first female student at the school to become a fully qualified FA referee, and has also been selected to join the Surrey FA Referee Academy, where she’ll receive expert tutoring and support, enabling her to progress even further.

Iona’s marathon for Malawi

Earlier this year, eight-year-old Iona, who attends Essendene Lodge School, decided to help raise funds for their partner school in Malawi, by running a sponsored marathon in stages.

Msalura Primary is a large urban school in Salima, Malawi, which provides education to over 1,500 pupils daily. Classes often have more than 70 pupils. Teaching resources are basic and the school has suffered from both flooding and Covid. Fundraising will support rebuilding education blocks destroyed by flooding, and pay for orphaned girls to attend secondary school rather than work in farming or in factories.

Over a series of runs, Iona managed to raise £700 for the school. When asked what her motivation for her achievement was, she said that she goes to ‘an awesome school’ and wanted to help girls in Malawi access the right education as well.

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