MANCHESTER United and England star Chris Smalling joined Hyndburn pupils at the launch of a football initiative.

Students from Accrington Academy and Hyndburn Academy in Rishton helped to kick off the new Football Beyond Borders (FBB) project.

FBB aims to improve youngsters' performance at school and attitudes to learning by using sport.

Pupils from East Lancashire were invited to United Learning’s Salford City Academy for a football tournament, cheered on by Chris, FBB coaches and their teachers.

Students taking part in the project have also received extra literacy support and classroom sessions on what makes a great leader and team player.

The tournament was followed by an awards ceremony where Chris presented participants with their trophies and certificates. He also took part in a Q and A.

Andy O’Brien, executive principal at Accrington and Hyndburn Academies said: “We are very pleased to be part of Football Beyond Borders, which has made a real difference to those students taking part in the programme and which directly supports our drive to provide our students with an education with character.”