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Youngsters see red in racism fight

KICK IT OUT ... Richard Offiong, Laura Pidcock, John Anderson, Lizz Bennett and Dean Gordon with pupils Lewis Kram, nine, Amarni Boyle, 10, and Kieron Cox, 10.

KICK IT OUT ... Richard Offiong, Laura Pidcock, John Anderson, Lizz Bennett and Dean Gordon with pupils Lewis Kram, nine, Amarni Boyle, 10, and Kieron Cox, 10.

EX-footballers got a real kick out of passing on anti-racism advice to fascinated South Tyneside youngsters.

Pupils from Westoe Primary School were invited to a reception at South Shields Town Hall as part of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.

On hand were ex-Newcastle United defender John Anderson, ex-Middlesbrough left-back Dean Gordon and South Shields-born Richard Offiong, also a former Magpie.

They were joined by Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety.

During the event, young people took part in anti-racism activities, viewed a new DVD and had the chance to question the ex-pros.

Mr Offiong spoke of his own experiences of racism in South Shields in the 1980s and Mr Gordon recounted an experience of blatant racial abuse.

He said: “It was in Middlesbrough three years ago. I was dropping my son off at school and these lads in a car called me the ‘N’ word.

“I was stunned. The police were great and traced the culprit to Wales.

“The only reason he wasn’t prosecuted was because I couldn’t give a positive identification of him.”

Coun Dixon called on youngsters to raise their own concerns of racism, saying: “Ourselves and our partner agencies treat allegations extremely seriously and we will act on them.”

Mr Anderson said there had been “complacency” in football circles that racism had been successfully eradicated. But recent cases involving John Terry and Luis Suarez had raised the issue again.

He said: “We have to keep working to eradicate it from the game. That’s why this campaign is so important.”

Laura Pidcock, an education worker with Show Racism the Red Card, said: “The support given to us by South Tyneside Council shows their commitment to tackling racism.”

Show Racism the Red Card is an anti-racism charity. More details can be found at www.theredcard.org.

Twitter@shieldsgazpaul

 

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