Pupils at Revoe Learning Academy have been competing to have their work involved in a mural to commemorate former pupils and legendary footballers Jimmy Armfield and Frank Swift.
Ahead of the grand unveiling, former professional footballer and chief executive of the English footballers trades union and the Professional Footballers Association, Gordon Taylor OBE paid the pupils a special visit.
He was able to meet the children and pass on his words of wisdom about football and the players the mural will be dedicated to.
The mural will be designed by local artist Jo Harvey-Rainford and is set to play tribute to both Blackpool FC footballer Jimmy Armfield and Frank Swift, who was born in Blackpool and went on to play For Manchester City and England.
Gordon Taylor said both men, being former pupils, was an “accolade to the school.”
Describing Frank Swift as “a wonderful goal keeper” and Jimmy Armfield as “a very skilled footballer” he said he was pleased a dedicated mural would be part of a remembrance at the school for what they did for football.
And he hoped seeing what the former pupils had achieved would be an inspiration. He said: “It really matters for people at the school to see what former pupils had achieved to be inspired by them. I have been very impressed at the quality of the pupils and their eagerness and willingness to take part and how much they know about it.”
Jimmy Armfield’s grandaughter Hannah Armfield, 22, also paid a visit to the school on Grasmere Road and said she thinks the mural and plaque idea is “lovely.”
She said: “Grandma and grandad met aged five and six at Revoe. They had nothing but fond memories. It is important for the children to see what can be achieved by working hard. And it is lovely for us as his family.”
Artist Jo Harvey-Rainford, who lives in Poulton, ran a competition for the children with winners’ ideas being incorporated in to the final design - which she is keeping under wraps.
All pupils took part in the competition to design a mural and the chosen design will be recreated and incorporated in to the final mural.
Jo, who has previously created a mural for Hodgson High School, said: “We ran a competition and chose five winners. And I will be incorporating their work in to my work.
“I am very excited. The winners are going to come to my studio and do a little workshop.”
Headteacher Dayle Harrison said: “We are absolutely delighted to be involved with celebrating the achievements of these local heroes who through the murals will be inspiring the next generation of children to achieve their dreams.”
Joan Humble, chairman of The Blackpool Civic Trust, said: “We are very pleased to commemorate two footballers who were so inspirational.
“Jimmy Armfield was patron of Blackpol Civic Trust and was very supportive of us and it is a pleasure to work with the school children of Revoe.”
Jimmy Armfield died aged 82 on January 22 after a battle with cancer.
Frank Swift died, aged 44, in the Munich air disaster in 1958 after reporting on Manchester United’s European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade in Yugoslavia for the News of the World.