Crystal Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell met children at a Palace for Life Foundation holiday camp, appearing via video link after training to answer their questions and hear how they had been spending half-term.
Mitchell was greeted by the excited youngsters, aged seven and eight, who had prepared questions for him about everything from his favourite healthy snacks to who his funniest teammate is.
Tyrick Mitchell explains his career so far up to a Crystal Palace Premier League debut29 October 2020
You can see the session in full on the BBC's Match of the Day on Sunday, 8th November from 7:35am on BBC One.
The 21-year-old Londoner said: “It was enjoyable to meet them [the pupils] and hear how open they are and see how happy they looked! This programme has given children the chance to be with others their own age again, smiling, laughing and having fun.”
The holiday camp ran at Heavers Farm Primary School, just down the road from Selhurst Park, with 60 children aged five to 11 attending each day. Activities ranged from football and tennis to DJing and dance, while children also received a hot, healthy lunch each day that was prepared by the Crystal Palace F.C. chefs.
Speaking about the importance of ensuring children have access to food during the school holidays, Mitchell added: “In a lot of areas across London, families rely on free school meals. It might seem like a small thing to some people but it can have a big impact in the long run. It’s a big thing in certain households - children do need that help.”
Fruit was also provided for children by Lidl in Selhurst, ensuring attendees were able to have a healthy snack break each day, something that Community Sports Manager at Palace for Life Roxanne Bennett explained was particularly important: “We wanted children to enjoy their time with us, have fun and make new friends, but we also wanted to encourage them to eat healthily and take part in daily exercise.
“It was fantastic to have Tyrick with us and tell the children about his training and diet. He’s a great role model and someone they can look up to.”
Speaking to Match of the Day after the session, Mitchell concluded: “The things Palace for Life are doing are great for the kids, they get to socialise and make new friends in the area, it’s a great thing. It gets the kids learning new skills and trying things they’ve not done before.
"They were doing circus skills and dance - they’re not things that everyone gets to do. They get to learn new things and potentially things they might want to do in future and also getting free meals, that helps a lot.”
Catch Tyrick and the children at Palace for Life's holiday camp on Match of the Day on Sunday, 8th November from 7:35am on BBC One.