Shadow Scholarship | Callum Walmsley Visits Old Primary School

Former Shadow Scholarship defender Callum Walmsley was invited back to his old Primary School earlier this week.

The 17-year-old, who became the first Shadow Scholar to sign a professional scholarship with the Barnsley FC Academy earlier this year, visited West Meadows Primary School to help inspire current pupils.

Callum was introduced in the morning’s assembly, answering a couple of questions and posing for a picture with the school football team.

He then engaged in some one-to-one time with the pupils, visiting individual classes to take part in Q&A sessions, pose for pictures and sign Barnsley FC merchandise.

While football and his time at the Reds were understandably popular topics among the children, Callum also stressed the importance of work ethic and attitude in every aspect of the pupils’ lives.

The centre back, who has continued his studies with Reds in the Community alongside his Barnsley FC Academy commitments, explained how it felt to be back at his former Primary School.

He said: “It’s been very exciting, especially seeing how excited all the kids were getting. Seeing all the teachers and seeing they’re quite proud of where I’ve got – obviously, there’s still quite a long way to go – it’s good to see that people value how far I’ve come and me just being here. It’s nice seeing how excited they were.

“It’s important to send the right message out. It’s not about just focusing on football. While you’re in school, get the most out of it that you can because you never know what’s going to happen. By telling them that, hopefully that means they’re still focused on their education and other things that they obviously enjoy.”

West Meadows Headteacher Daniel Wood led proceedings during the introductory assembly.

Mr Wood spoke of his and his school’s pride at Callum’s achievements, stating that he is a fantastic role model to current pupils of the Hoyland school.

He said: “The children went absolutely berserk. We’re so proud that someone from our school has managed to achieve a lifelong dream. It’s interesting because I spoke to some of the teachers who worked with Callum and unanimously they all agreed that he worked so hard during his school career.

“It’s someone that has always been a positive role model. For someone that like to receive to notoriety and success in the local area is absolutely brilliant. He’s a fantastic example to the children who are at our school now. Callum gave a lovely speech to the children where he explained that he hadn’t put all his eggs into one basket. It wasn’t a case of football or bust. It really was giving himself the best opportunity across all forms and subjects in life. It’s an absolutely perfect message for our young people.”

Callum’s visit turned out to be just the start of what was a memorable day for the programme, with Mark Tinker’s U19 side running out 2-1 winners over Sunderland to seal a place in the National Football Youth League Cup final that afternoon.