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Friday 15 November 2002
Dons players go back to school

When Ms Melanie Haynes, the headmistress of William Morris Primary School in Mitcham, approached Kris Stewart, AFC Wimbledon?s chairman, to tentatively enquire whether any of the Dons players would be available to open the school?s new nursery she had expected at most one or two to turn up. She got eight: Gavin Bolger, Glen Mulcaire, Andy Bell, Daniel Couch, Joe Sheerin, Dave Towse, Glyn Shimmel and Kevin Cooper.

The Dons chairman had passed on the request to Anne Eames, head of AFC Wimbledon?s matchday academy programme and wife of club manager Terry Eames, "Ms Haynes was really surprised when eight of the players turned up, along with myself and Terry. I think she wasn't even sure if anyone would turn up," Anne said. "But to be honest, once we got the request, we were never going to turn it down. AFC Wimbledon was formed as part of the community and it was exactly the sort of the event the club want to be involved with. A lot of the kids from that area are from one-parent families and that can make it difficult for them to get to the games, so it was really positive to go out and make contact."

After a small ceremony, Kevin Cooper cut a yellow and blue ribbon to formally open the nursery, he then made a speech. The eight players, accompanied by the Eames, then stayed behind for two more hours to conduct a training session with the children.

"We have had so much success with the academy on matchdays that going out to schools is the natural progression and hopefully we can be involved in more events like these", Anne added."The likes of Joe Sheerin, Gavin Bolger and Daniel Couch are all very keen to get involved with a football in the community scheme and hopefully over the next few weeks we can get something set up formally. Gavin, Joe and Daniel would be great ambassadors for the club. They are the kind of people the kids want to see. The kids are not really interested in the officials of the club and it will make a refreshing change to their normal PE teacher!".