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Unforgettable day for Bridge Academy pupil

PUBLISHED: 10:39 28 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 28 February 2017

Bridge Academy's Dillon Lee with Billy Vunipola

Bridge Academy's Dillon Lee with Billy Vunipola

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School unveil new rugby shirts at Twickenham

A young rugby fan from Hackney’s Bridge Academy got the experience of a lifetime when they unveiled their school’s new Canterbury rugby shirt in front of thousands at Twickenham ahead of England’s RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy.

Just minutes before England kicked off against the Italians on Sunday, Dillon Lee proudly entered the famous Twickenham pitch wearing his school’s new playing kit for the national anthems.

The opportunity came as part of the CBRE All Schools programme, launched in 2012 by the Rugby Football Union, which aims to get more state secondary schools playing rugby and encourage students to join local clubs.

Dillon was one of 100 students from across England who were picked to unveil their new shirts in front of thousands of rugby supporters on behalf of their respective schools.

And the 13-year-old admitted the whole day – which also saw him meet CBRE All Schools Ambassador and England international Billy Vunipola, line up on the pitch for the anthems and then sit in the crowd afterwards for the action – would live long in the memory.

“I think it is cool that I get to represent my school on this stage. I felt nervous going out onto the pitch. I have seen the people in the stadium before on TV but it was very different out there,” said Dillon, who was joined on the day by teacher Jon Bellinger.

“We used a London skyline for an outline to represent where we come from and we used our school uniform colours for the main body of the kit.”

Each shirt was individually designed by the school children at Canterbury kit design workshops last year.

Pupils worked with Canterbury employees to learn about the core values of rugby, the pride associated with the shirt and the importance of colours, logos and emblems.

England and Saracens number eight Vunipola was also on hand at the kit unveil to share his experience of what it means to represent England, the importance of the shirt and take centre stage at Twickenham on match day.

“It’s great to see more state secondary schools getting involved in rugby through the CBRE All Schools programme,” he said.

“The atmosphere in Twickenham on match day is very special and it’s fantastic that the students got to experience it first-hand. Who knows, maybe one of them will be playing for England one day!”

Chris Stephenson, CEO of Canterbury, added: “This is our fourth year as Official Partner of the All Schools programme – something we are extremely proud to be part of.

“The students did their schools proud by wearing a shirt they designed at such a huge game. Hopefully some special memories were made.”

*CBRE All Schools supported by Canterbury is one of the RFU’s key legacy programmes, set up to increase the number of state secondary schools playing rugby union in England. Visit englandrugby.com/allschools to find out more.

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