Accrington Stanley’s big shirt giveaway was a huge success – even though it had to be done differently this year due to COVID-19.

It’s the fourth year running that owner Andy Holt has backed the campaign to give 1,200 shirts to Year 3 pupils in Hyndburn – that’s 40 schools.

Mr Holt said: “I think this is one of the best things we have ever done at Accrington Stanley. It’s the fourth year we have given away shirts to Year 3 pupils in Hyndburn and it’s great to see them pictured in their shirts and the smiles on their faces.

“We want to attract the next generation of Accrington Stanley fans and hopefully this will help.

“It is just a shame they couldn’t come to the Wham Stadium but hopefully we will see some of their faces there in the near future, when fans are again allowed in the ground.”

Stanley’s most famous fan David Lloyd, otherwise known as Bumble, got involved and said: “COVID hasn’t stopped us, the show must go on!

“It’s a terrific gesture and the best bit is seeing the social media and all the mums and dads putting on proud pictures of their children in Accrington Stanley shirts.

“In this day and age it’s a good news story and we need them!”

The pupils also received a goody-bag, containing items such as flags, yo-yos and fridge magnets from sponsors Studio and Sundown.

“I think we should have a yo-yo competition!” said David who admitted it had taken him back to his childhood.

This year’s big shirt giveaway had to be carefully planned as the children were unable to come to the Wham Stadium, as previously, and meet the players before they received their shirts.

This time the Official Accrington Stanley Supporters Trust (OASST), along with Scott Dawson Advertising, packed and delivered the 1,200 bags to the school. There were also banners with each school assigned a player ambassador.

Accrington Stanley Community Trust sponsored the backs of shirts and there was also forms for the pupils to become Junior Redz members, via the OASST.

The schools took a photo of their pupils in their new kit and the reactions were superb.

St Mary Magdalen’s in Church said: “Can I just say a huge thank you from all of Year 3 for the very kind gifts from Accrington Stanley, the children were overjoyed with what they received and were smiling from ear to ear when they left tonight.

“It was lovely to see them so happy, thank you.”

St Peter & St Paul’s said: “Thank you so much for the lovely shirts, the children were very excited.”

Rishton Methodist Primary School were delighted with their shirts: “We love the kits, thank you very much.”

White Ash were similarly impressed: “Thank you for the shirts and gift bags, the pupils love them.”

Hyndburn Park said it had made their pupils’ day: “The children have had a wonderful day enjoying their shirts.”

St Oswald’s RC added: “A huge thank you from all at St Oswald’s for the shirts delivered today, we have a class of very excited Year 3 children all wearing them with pride.

“Thank you to the chairman for continuing with this initiative in these tricky times, it really does enthuse the children and encourage pride in their home town.”

All photos of the school children will be in the Christmas edition of the Amazing Accrington magazine which will be distributed from the last week of November into 36,000 Hyndburn households.