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Your News Rugby World Cup twins Silsden School with Dunedin
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25
JUL

SPORT has always played an important part in the life of Hothfield Primary School from Silsden in West Yorkshire and now that part of the curriculum has taken on an international dimension.

Thanks to a friendship between staff member Beckie Carter and Phillippa Norton, who works for the British High Commission in Wellington, the Hothfield children have been ‘twinned’ with Mornington School in Dunedin, where England will be launching their Rugby World Cup campaign against Argentina on September 10, 2011.

Kiwi officials were keen to use their country’s hosting of the World Cup as an educational tool and schools in cities which are welcoming the competitors have been encouraged to set up exchange links with schools in countries who are visiting them.

“When the scheme was conceived, Philippa suggested that we might suitable partners for the project.” says Ms Carter. “The children from Dunedin have sent us cardboard cut-outs of caricature rugby players which they have coloured in to represent the New Zealand All Blacks. They have also included letters telling us about Dunedin and New Zealand.

“In return, we will colour the reverse side with an England strip, although given that we play in white there isn’t a great deal of room for creativity, but we’ve made one or two minor additions to add some colour!

“We’ve also taken some pictures to go with the letters were are sending back about Silsden, Yorkshire and England and what life is like over here. Having had our children walking on the Three Peaks and being on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, we’ve featured that fairly strongly.”

Having New Zealand in general and Dunedin in particular as a theme and the rugby union World Cup as the background to their new topic the 75 youngsters involved in the project have found a new outlet for their studies.

They have also found an expert on the subject who is hoping to pay them a visit when they get back to Hothfield after the summer break.

Cullingworth-based Rugby Football Union Development Officer for West Yorkshire, Hamish Pratt, was born and bred in Dunedin and even has an auntie who once taught at Mornington School, which he knows well.

“I obviously knew that Hamish was a Kiwi, but it just a flier when I asked him where he came from,” said RFU Press Officer Tony Simpson. “It’s quite a coincidence that he is from Dunedin, but the fact that he knew the school and had someone in the family who had worked there was amazing.

“The Hothfield kids go back to school in the week England make their first appearance and we’re hoping to sort out a visit by him so that the children can have real live Dunedinite to fill them in on all the questions they forgot to ask in their letters.

“And who knows – we might even get a Hothfield version of the haka, especially as England will be wearing their new all black change strip in Dunedin because of the colour clash with Argentina’s pale blue and white jersey.”

*As the youngsters from Hothfield can now tell you, the name Dunedin stems from Důn Čideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, on which the design of the city was based. Until 1900 it was the biggest city in New Zealand.

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