Bolton School Infants

Phil Neville Q&A Session for Pupils

Everton Captain and England footballer Phil Neville made a flying helicopter visit to Bolton School to thank pupils for taking part in a schools' fundraising campaign in aid of The New Children's Hospital Appeal. As a reward, the pupils were afforded a once in a lifetime opportunity to ask the football star any questions.

Schools across the North West took part in the Wear What U Want Day - an event in which pupils were encouraged to pay £1 in return for being able to ditch their uniform for the day!

All schools that registered were entered into a draw to become one of four schools to receive a flying visit from the footballer, who along with his wife Julie, is a patron of the Appeal.

Phil and Julie flew into the School in an Agusta 109 Grand helicopter and were met by Mrs Hilary Crawforth, Head of Beech House, Bolton School's Infants' School and cheering pupils. The Nevilles were presented with a cheque for £500 from pupils from Beech House, the Junior Girls and Senior Girls' schools. Mrs Crawforth, who compered the event, said: "We are delighted to be once again supporting The New Children's Hospital Appeal by participating in Wear What U Want Day. We have a long tradition of charity work and feel it is important for our pupils to be informed about how their donation can make a difference."

Pupils from the infant, junior and senior divisions were given an opportunity to pose quick fire questions to the football star, following a talk from Julie Neville about how, by making the effort to join Wear What U Want Day, they had helped The New Children's Hospital Appeal. Phil Neville answered all his questions very openly, saying he had begun playing football at age 6, that Wembley was his favourite stadium, that he had won 6 Premier League titles and 3 FA Cups, that he had scored 9 goals in his career and 3 in his own net! Asked what he did for fun, he replied visiting Zoo Zone with his children and skiing, although because he is a footballer he is not allowed to take part in this activity! He said his family also enjoyed their annual holiday to Barbados. In summing up the day, he said: "This is a great opportunity for children to have fun, ditch their school uniforms and help a very special charity at the same time."

The New Children's Hospital Appeal aims to raise £20 million to provide the new hospital, which is being built in Manchester, with state-of-the-art equipment to help doctors provide patients with the very best in diagnosis and care. The Appeal also aims to provide parental accommodation facilities so that parents can stay close to their child during treatment. So far, the appeal has raised £15 million and there is still a year to go. When completed in 2009, it will be the largest children's hospital in the country.

Phil and Julie became patrons of The New Children's Hospital Appeal after doctors at St Mary's Hospital, Manchester, saved the life of their baby daughter Isabella when she was born 10 weeks prematurely.

Julie said: "Isabella spent her first eight weeks in hospital and due to the lack of parental accommodation we were unable to stay with her each night. We are supporting this Appeal to ensure that, when the new children's hospital opens in 2009, parents will be able to stay with their child whilst they are undergoing treatment."

She continued: "The facilities provided by the money raised will make a huge difference to families going through the most traumatic period of their lives - spending time with their sick child in hospital. It is impossible to explain to anybody unless they have been through it themselves how heartbreaking it is to have a sick child. But if you can be near them and stay on site with them while they are undergoing treatment it can make a terrible situation almost bearable."

Phil Neville and his wife, Julie, happily collect the Bolton School cheque to help with The New Children's Hospital Appeal

Phil Neville and his wife, Julie, happily collect the Bolton School cheque to help with The New Children's Hospital Appeal