YOUNGSTERS have had a taste of what it is like to be sporting leaders and referees.

Bolton School Games organisers Brian Richardson (St Joseph's RC High) and Bernadette O'Hare (Thornleigh Salesian College) ran two courses to enable school children to learn new skills in sporting matters off the field.

The first-ever Bolton Leadership Academy training took place in December at St Joseph's where the top four sports leaders from secondary schools in the town took part in a competition-organiser training course designed by the Youth Sports Trust.

Students were taught different competition formats along with the qualities needed to be a good leader, and were set a task to run a competition at their school then give feedback on it at the next Bolton Leadership Academy workshop in March.

The schools that took part were: Thornleigh, St Joseph's, Turton, Sharples, Ladybridge, Mount St Joseph, Rivington and Blackrod, Little Lever and Canon Slade.

The Bolton School Games duo also organised a Mini Whistlers Refereeing course, in conjunction with Lancashire FA and supported by Bolton Wanderers Community Trust.

It involved 54 pupils from 18 primary schools who were taught how to be a referee and a linesman, given a whistle, t-shirt, water bottle and set of red and yellow cards and set a task to use the skills to officiate a football competition at their school.

Schools that took part were: St Thomas of Canterbury, St Matthew's, St Thomas, St Peter and Paul's, The Valley, Mytham, Cherry Tree, St James (Daisy Hill), St Michael's, St Stephen and All Martyrs, Sacred Heart, Beaumont, St Josephs, St Bartholomew's, Lostock, Eagley, Clevelands, Claypool.