This evening I was witness to a pretty blooming marvellous spectacle, the graduation of 100 school children from Warrington through the Children's University scheme. These were pupils who had participated in extra-curricular learning experience, outside of the classroom environment. The scheme isn't just in the UK, it's worldwide, and it's dedicated to providing educational activities to children of all ages alongside the fine work that schools provide. I'm patron of the Children's University in Warrington, through my work with the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation. Over the course of the last few years I've been delivering workshops to the youngsters of my hometown - as have many others - and tonight saw the children celebrate their achievements.
Caps were donned, gowns were draped, and a procession of mini-graduates marched passed with grins of monstrous proportions plastering their faces. As if the smiles of the children wasn't enough to melt the coldest heart, the tearful looks on their proud parents and grandparents in the audience would've stopped a charging rhino dead in its tracks. No doubt some of those children in attendance, participating in the scheme, might not ever have considered a further education. Perhaps they will now. I don't know. Only I do know that if I'd had someone for creative industries (as an example) visit me in school when I was their age it would have had a profound effect. That's the biggest kick I get out of all my work: visiting schools all over the country and overseas and enthusing about the fact that one can make a living out of one's hobby. Writing WEREWORLD? A job? It's an absolute blooming pleasure, and I'm sure that came across to the kids tonight. I'm lucky that I've turned my pastimes into a career. That's what I've been doing for years. I might just get found out now.
Huge thanks to Neil Kelly and the ace team from the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation for ALL their hard work managing the CU scheme in the town, and thanks to the University of Chester for the support they've shown. Wobbly handclaps to all those who've delivered workshops in the last year and all the parents who've encouraged their children to participate. Most of all, WHOPPING CONGRATULATIONS to all the boys and girls who have walked away from tonight's graduation ceremony with a very special certificate tucked under their arm. Here's hoping this is just the first step along a very special learning adventure!