England Test ace Jimmy Anderson’s surprise visit to Lancashire school

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England’s record breaking bowler Jimmy Anderson may have got an OBE recently but he still called his former PE teacher ‘Sir’.

‘Burnley Express’ Jimmy went to St Theodore’s Catholic High School when he was growing up in the town with Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic College replacing it in 2006.

He returned to the Ormerod Road school on Wednesday as part of Yorkshire Tea’s National Cricket Week, celebrating Chance to Shine’s national celebration of cricket in schools.

He, along with Lancashire Cricket Club representatives, enjoyed a coaching session with 70 Year 7-9s from Blessed Trinity and then signed autographs for the shocked students who didn’t know Jimmy was coming to the school until he walked into the theatre.

But, when reunited with his former PE teacher Neil Stubbs, the England star, who is looking forward to the Ashes next month, slipped back into school-mode.

“When he saw me he said ‘Look Sir’s here,’ smiled Mr Stubbs. “It’s odd thinking that he calls me ‘Sir’ and he is the one with the OBE!

Ibrahim Rehman 12, Claudia Bentham 12, Joseph Brierley 11, Francesca Dawes 11 and Jimmy Anderson

Ibrahim Rehman 12, Claudia Bentham 12, Joseph Brierley 11, Francesca Dawes 11 and Jimmy Anderson

“It’s fantastic to have him there though. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for these children to have the greatest English wicket-taker of all time at their school.”

Jimmy said he was delighted to return and see his former teachers and hopes some of these students will follow in his footsteps.

“It’s great to be back – it’s certainly changed a lot,” said Jimmy. “It’s brought back a lot of memories and it’s nice to see some familiar faces.

“I didn’t have much chance to play a lot of cricket when I was at school as that was the way it was but fortunately my dad was involved in Burnley Cricket Club and then we had an enthusiastic teacher called Mick Ennis, who sadly died recently. If it wasn’t for people like that I wouldn’t be where I am today.

It’s great to be back – it’s certainly changed a lot

Jimmy Anderson

“I have been really fortunate with my job, if you can call it a job! I have loved every minute of it and if it ended tomorrow I would havbe been happy with everything I have achieved.

“It’s great that youngsters now have this chance to play cricket – and all sports – at school from an early age. Hopefully events like this will encourage and inspire them.”

One Blessed Trinity student Leighton Stott said: “I was shocked when Jimmy Anderson came in. I can’t put into words how I feel. We are really lucky to have him here.”

Another student Kasom Shah said: “He has worked his way up from the bottom and it’s a big deal for the school and a big deal for us to have such a big sports star here. He is a great role model.”

Big hit: Jimmy Anderson at Blessed Trinity

Big hit: Jimmy Anderson at Blessed Trinity

Max Ingham added: “To see him in person means a lot. I can’t believe how tall he is! It’s really inspirational.”

And teacher Anne Ellison, who taught Jimmy A-Level English, got a shirt signed, adding: “I am so proud of him.”