YOUNGSTERS from Calderdale got to rub shoulders with the stars at an Olympics event.
A penalty shoot-out between Michelle Obama and David Beckham, coaching tips from soccer stars like Denis Law and Peter Schmeichel and a chat with US sprint legend Carl Lewis were all on the menu.
And those were just some of the memories that will be with 50 Calderdale youngsters for a lifetime, after they played a part in the Let’s Move! Olympic Fun Day at the US Ambassador’s residence at Winfield House, in Regent’s Park, London.
It was part of Calderdale Council’s town twinning relationship with Tower Hamlets for the Olympics.
Young athletes aged nine to 13 from Halifax Harriers athletic club and Greetland Goldstars junior football club joined around 1,000 British and American students and US military children for the Let’s Move! event.
And it was summed up by Greetland Goldstars player Tom Dighton, who said: “This really was a once-in-a-lifetime event!”
Let’s Move! is an initiative created by Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, to tackle childhood obesity and she joined in the fun.
The youngsters had a go at many sports including football, hockey, tennis, basketball and tug of war.
Mrs Obama inspired the crowd with a moving speech, encouraging young people to get moving, stay healthy, stick to their goals and have fun.
Mrs Obama then jogged on to the lawn to play sport with the youngsters, and ended the day by showing off her football skills in a jovial penalty shoot-out with David Beckham.
There were also appearances by music stars Katy B, Mark Ronson and The Wanted.
Rebecca Sullivan, of Halifax Harriers, said: “It was such an exciting day. Sport is a big part of my life and I can’t wait to watch the Olympics.
“Even though the Games are mainly in London, I know that lots of people in Calderdale are really excited. I think the Olympics will get lots of people more active and involved with sport.”
Another Harrier, William Strange, said: “I had an ace day! I’ll never forget it. The highlights for me were meeting David Beckham and Michelle Obama. I play lots of sport and I think it’s really important that young people stay fit and healthy.”
Harry Kilroy, of Greetland, said: “I play football a lot, so playing with other young people and meeting football stars were the best bits of the day for me.”
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Clr Pauline Nash, said: “I’m thrilled that young people from Calderdale were given such an amazing opportunity. It’s brilliant seeing youngsters come together to play sport and get excited about exercise.”