SOME of the area’s most vulnerable young people had the chance to share time with their heroes at Aspull’s Snake Pit wrestling gym.
England winger and 2013 Super League top try-scorer Josh Charnley and head strength and conditioning coach Mick Turner were on hand to meet children of the Heartlift charity, supported by Warriors’ shirt sponsor Houses for Homes.
The Warriors pair shared training tips with the two dozen children and also learned some moves themselves from the budding wrestlers to take back to camp.
The youngsters were also treated to a question and answer session with the wing ace and the man who keeps the Wigan Warriors in fighting form.
“It’s great to be given the opportunity to give something back to the communities which support us and hopefully we can inspire the people we meet,” said Charnley after answering questions and meeting young people at The Snake Pit.
And the 22-year-old admitted to feeling the pressure under the scrutiny of the youngsters’ questioning.
“I was more nervous than the Grand Final,” he laughed after answering questions ranging from what was his diet like (‘mainly Nando’s and McDonald’s,’ he joked) to what is the best advice he could give to aspiring young people, to which he replied: “Believe in yourself but never think you’ve made it.”
Houses for Homes supplies social and extra care, housing stock and accommodation to people across the country through registered housing providers and Heartlift is one of a number of partner charities being supported by the company.
Charnley thinks the link with the club is important and is grateful for the opportunity to get involved.
“It’s a nice experience and it’s nice to give a little back,” he said after helping Turner teach a group of enthusiastic youngsters a series of simple training moves.
“People from Houses for Homes have done this for the charity and it’s good for us as a team to be able to give that little bit extra to the community and help them along,” he added.
Turner, after being ‘double-legged’ by a young girl in a bid to teach the conditioning coach the move, explained to the inquisitive assembly the importance of keeping the players fit for Super League action.
“In pre-season we train pretty much every day,” he told the group.
“That changes during the season so we will train on Monday and Tuesday, give the players Wednesday off and then have a light session on a Thursday before the game at the weekend. The recovery sessions on a Saturday are also very important but the players hate getting in an ice bath for five minutes after a game.” The Super League champions and Challenge Cup holders made the appearance to help draw attention to Heartlift, a Wigan and Bolton-based charity and the work it does helping some of the most vulnerable children in the region.
Andrea Wood, founder of Heartlift said: “Many of our 100-plus kids have found themselves falling through the cracks in the care system and we are in many cases the only ones left that can help.
“To have Josh here for the day so the kids can ask him questions and have a load of fun with one of their heroes is just wonderful.”
Heartlift is managed by a small number of staff and volunteers.
To find out how to get involved or to donate to the charity, email firstname.lastname@example.org