ACCRINGTON Stanley held their annual shirt giveaway to primary school children from across Hyndburn.

Hundreds of Year 3 pupils descended on the Reds' Wham Stadium to receive their free replica shirts from members of the first team, with manager John Coleman also on hand for the event.

It is the fifth year in a row that the club has donated shirts to youngsters, with chairman and owner Andy Holt coming up with the initiative.

And following slightly altered plans for the 2020 event due to COVID-19, the youngsters were once more invited to meet their favourite players and see the pitch up close, having their pictures taken in the Studio Family Stand.

The shirts were sponsored by Studio and Accrington Stanley Community Trust, with children also receiving a goodie bag, sponsored by Studio and North Lancs Training Group, including a free match ticket, crayons, a lunch box and picture of the first-team squad.

Manager, John Coleman, said: “It’s always a day in the calendar that we look forward to and so do the players.

“It’s a fantastic initiative and something that has been going for five years. If we can capture the children’s imagination and get them involved in Stanley, it bodes well for the future.

“The idea of giving the children a replica shirt is fantastic and it gives them an identity. For a lot of people it’s difficult to justify being able to get their child a replica top and I think this is a great gesture by our owner Andy Holt.

"I hope it captures the imagination of these kids and in 10-15 years’ time they’ll be here cheering us on or even playing for us.”

Holt added: “It’s an event that I’m particularly proud of. It’s probably the best thing we do as a club and I promise to do it every year I’m involved with Accrington Stanley. It’s fantastic.”

Former Lancashire and England cricketer turned commentator David Lloyd - Stanley's most famous fan - described it as "a marvellous time of the year".

He added: "There’s one thing that I’m really looking forward to… and that is one day boys and girls will have that football shirt on and they’ll be representing Accrington Stanley at the Wham.”

Paul Kendrick, CEO of Studio, said: “It’s a fantastic way to get new followers into the club from the outset, get them passionate about Accrington and we’re really happy to get involved in it.”