Education is the goal for ex-footballer as he helps tackle racism

Ridgeway Primary Academy pupils raise their red cards against racism, watched by ex-professional Richard Offiong, back right, Coun Alex Donaldson, back centre, and teacher Paul Charlton.

Ridgeway Primary Academy pupils raise their red cards against racism, watched by ex-professional Richard Offiong, back right, Coun Alex Donaldson, back centre, and teacher Paul Charlton.

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Schoolchildren have raised the bar in the fight against racism with the help of a former professional footballer.

Richard Offiong, who grew up in South Shields, visited Ridgeway Primary Academy in the town in his role with Show Racism the Red Card.

Hopefully we can all work towards eradicating racism in society.

Richard Offiong

The ex-Carlisle United, Hamilton Academicals, Motherwell and Newcastle United youth team player spoke about what can done to change attitudes.

He also took part in a fact-finding and answer workshop with around 50 year 5 and 6 pupils.

Richard, 32, told how falling victim to abuse during his playing days made him want work to inform a younger generation of the dangers of racism and support the organisation.

The right-sided midfielder said: “If you can educate today’s children so that they don’t grow up with racist ideas, then they can one day also educate their own children.

“Hopefully we can all work towards eradicating racism in society.”

Also supporting Richard’s visit was South Tyneside councillor and retired policeman Alex Donaldson, who represents the academy’s Cleadon Park ward.

He said: “The work of the organisation and its representatives like Richard is invaluable and greatly helps to raise awareness of this very important issue.

“It was good to hear Richard talking to the children and I’m sure they listened carefully to what he had to say.”

Paul Charlton, a teacher at Ridgeway, which is sponsored by South Tyneside College, said: “Nobody should be judged by the colour of their skin and event such as this play a big part in preventing that.