PUPILS at a Great Lever primary school received a surprise when a Bolton Wanderers star paid them a visit as part of World Book Day.

David Wheater joined staff members from the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust at SS Simon and Jude Primary School in Great Lever on Thursday afternoon.

The Whites’ defender attended the event as part of Premier League Primary Stars Programme, and presented the school with a book box packed with popular titles chosen by the National Literary Trust.

Wheater then led some shared reading sessions with various classes, and even read extracts from Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox.

Prior to his arrival, staff members from the Community Trust – led by club chaplain Phil Mason – took part in a special book character dance-off with each of them having donned costumes from their own favourite books.

Lofty the Lion was also on hand to present trophies to the best dressed class.

Of the visit, Wheater said: “It was great to see all the kids so excited about reading – it’s hugely important and is a crucial life skill.

“I read to my own little girl all the time and she loves it, especially books like The Little Mermaid and Frozen – it really is great to see the children getting in the spirit and World Book Day has definitely had a positive effect on them all.

“There was a lot of thought and effort which went into their costumes and hopefully the excitement of the day will encourage them to read more in the future."

Liz Peacock, headteacher at the school, said: “The afternoon was a wonderful example of Bolton Wanderers engaging with the children and staff of SSSJ to promote reading. The day certainly had a very positive impact on all our children."

“They especially enjoyed meeting and listening to David Wheater read extracts from Fantastic Mr Fox.

“One of our Y6 pupils even said, 'seeing a famous footballer reading really inspired us to read a range of books and read more often.'”