UPLANDS school children enjoyed a special treat when they met Forest Green boss David Hockaday and his players at the New Lawn.

The Merlins reception class and teacher Annie Fotheringham where welcomed by David Hockaday, who emphasised the importance of healthy eating, getting enough sleep and taking regular exercise.

He also told the young fledglings which of their favourite meals he approved of and which received the Hockaday thumbs down. FGR stars Jamie Collins, Jamie Turley and Ben Wright also answered questions about their lives as professional footballers.

The children were escorted to the matchday changing area to see where the players prepare for their crucial Blue Square Premier games.

They also saw the players’ kits, instruction boards and key phrases they need to focus on before they go out on to the battlefield. The class-mates visited the treatment centre, where sports therapist Tim Grigg was massaging star left-back Chris Stokes. Groundsman Stewart Ward amazed the youngsters by wheeling out the Etesia robot mower - known as a “mow-bot”.

It uses GPS technology to automatically guide it round the pitch without the need for human intervention.

Teacher Annie Fotheringham said: “We try to follow the children’s interests to promote their learning and to ensure a high level of engagement in everything they do at school. “All their work has been centered around football from maths- counting goals and finding out how many more players we need-to expressive arts- designing shirts and singing football songs.”

Phil Butterworth, FGR schools’ liaison officer added: “The children endeared themselves to the FGR staff who couldn’t do enough for their young visitors.”

IF any school would like to visit the New Lawn they should contact Phil on 01453 834860.