Pupils I'll never forget

19th November 2004 at 00:00
Sally Serridge recalls a boy whose dream of sporting glory came true

I first met Brian in September 1993, when he joined my tutor group as a quiet 12-year-old who kept himself to himself. But it soon emerged that he was football-crazy and he came out of himself whenever the game was mentioned. He was a talented player and was soon a valuable member of the school team. I loved to sit in the tutor room discussing his latest game and what he was going to do to improve further.

Brian's parents were always supportive and I got to know them well in the five years I was his tutor. It soon became a running joke that he would give me 10 per cent of his first wage as a professional footballer, and that it would be much more than my teacher salary.

In Year 11 he was offered a youth team place with Bournemouth FC. At the same time he was leaving school to pursue his dream, I left to have my first child. One day, soon after Katie was born, I received a parcel.

Inside was a thank-you letter and some loose change. My 10 per cent.

We kept in contact, and on Saturday October 16 this year I took my two daughters to their first football match. Brian got us the tickets and his picture was on the front page of the programme. His parents were in the stand, with his girlfriend and young son. To see Brian running on to the pitch was so exciting. And the match was incredible. Bournemouth won 4-0; Brian scored twice.

Brian is an example to all young lads who dream of becoming a professional footballer. He remains a quiet, unassuming young man who has achieved his dream through hard work, dedication, and the support of a caring family.

When his second goal went in that Saturday (a cracker), I leapt off my seat and flung my arms in the air. "Why are you shouting Mummy?" asked one of my girls. "Because Brian scored." What she didn't see were the tears in my eyes, as more than 6,000 people celebrated his goal.

Sally Serridge teaches PE at Wyvern college of technology in Eastleigh, Hampshire. She taught Brian at Wildern School, Southampton. Do you have special memories of unforgettable pupils? Write to Sarah Bayliss at the address on page 3 or email sarah.bayliss@tes.co.uk

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