Everyday hero’s visit inspires pupils

Staff and pupils at Hope School with Neil Baldwin, known as Nello the clown

Staff and pupils at Hope School with Neil Baldwin, known as Nello the clown

Everyday hero Neil “Nello” Baldwin made an inspirational visit to a Wigan special school leaving a lasting impression on awe-struck pupils.

The 70-year-old called in at Hope School last week as part of a class project about ordinary people who go on to do extraordinary things.

Neil Baldwin, known as Nello the clown, during his visit to Hope School

Neil Baldwin, known as Nello the clown, during his visit to Hope School

Mr Baldwin’s remarkable career was the subject of Bafta award-winning drama “Marvellous” starring Toby Jones.

He has learning difficulties and Hope assistant head Helen Leach said pupils invited him to the school as part of the Everyday Heroes project.

She told the Evening Post the day could not have gone any better and Neil has pledged to make his visit to the school an annual occurrence.

Mrs Leach said: “The children had an absolutely marvellous time and we watched some of the film with Neil.

“The children are still talking about the visit and I think it will have a real impact on them. He truly is an inspiration.”

Mr Baldwin’s career has seen him perform as Nello the Clown before being appointed Stoke City’s kit-man in the 1990s by then manager Lou Macari.

Mrs Leach said Mr Baldwin even received a call from the ex-Celtic and Manchester United player during his visit.

He is also known to be on speaking terms with dozens of footballers as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Royal Family.

Mr Baldwin also suggested to students he may be in line for recognition in the New Year’s Honours List and now has the support of Hope School’s students.

Mrs Leach said: “Neil mentioned that he was in line for a knighthood and we saw that Robbie Williams (a fellow famous son of Stoke) had tweeted about it.

“As a class we researched how the nominations work and found that they have to be submitted to the cabinet office.

“So for an English lesson project we have drafted letters in support of Neil’s honour and will send them off to the Government.”

Marvellous last year won the Bafta for best single drama with Gemma Jones also winning in the best supporting actress category for her role as Neil’s mum.

Mrs Leach added: “When we watched part of it with Neil he was telling the children that it was filmed in his actual house.

“The day could not have gone any better and Neil said he would like to come back to see us again. It truly was Marvellous.”