Wigan Athletic defender swaps football boots for gardening gloves as part of community project

Latics star Tom Pearce swung into action to mark the EFL’s Day of Action.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 10:52 am
Latics player Tom Pearce and lifelong fan Bernie Green

Latics star Tom Pearce swung into action to mark the EFL’s Day of Action.

The popular defender swapped his football boots for gardening gloves for the day as he helped the club mark the scheme.

The Day of Action celebrates and demonstrates the impact football has on positively changing lives with players and managers from all 72 EFL clubs getting involved in community activities to mark the occasion.

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The full-back paid a visit to Extra Time Hub participant Bernie Green to help with some gardening and a have a socially distanced chat to the life-long Latics fan.

During a recent virtual watch-a-long of Latics’ 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle with Wigan Athletic Community Trust participants – including Bernie, Tom commented on his enjoyment of gardening and says he was more than happy to assist.

“It’s been a bit cold but it’s been enjoyable and I enjoy gardening so when I was asked to come I was more than happy to help.”

He added: “To still be able to make these visits or meet people at different virtual events is important and it’s a pleasure to be involved in the community and meet and speak to people like Bernie about football or other things off the pitch”

Funded by the National Lottery and Sport England and backed by the EFL Trust, the Trust’s Extra Time Hub aims to make a positive difference to the lives of retired and semi-retired people across the Wigan borough.

Following the postponement of sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Extra Time Hub participants have been supported in a number of ways from staff including over 50 virtual coffee mornings, more than 500 weekly phone calls and the delivery of 300 goody bags.

Bernie, 75, has been a fan of Latics for over 40 years and a member of the Hub since joining the programme following the passing of husband Dennis.

Without any of the weekly sessions running, she says the support given to her during the past 12 months has been very much


“It’s been sad without the sessions as I’m a people person and don’t like being on my own so not being able to see each other has been hard,” she said.

“At the beginning I wasn’t interested in Zoom, because it was so alien to me but it got to the point where I was so miserable and I thought what worse can happen.

“So when I got past the technical side it was a lot better than expected.

“It’s also been nice to have visits, phone calls and the delivery of goody bags as well, it’s so nice to think someone is thinking about you.

“I’m really looking forward to going back as it hasn’t been the same without the sessions and seeing each


“It was lovely to have Tom come round, I was a bit starstruck at first but it was great to see and chat to


The programme currently runs two online sessions a week through a virtual coffee morning every Tuesday at 11am and an activity hour on Thursday afternoon at


For more information about the Extra Time Hub, contact Christine Blundell, by emailing [email protected] or calling 01942 318090.

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