Pupils from across Cumbria descended on Brunton Park on Thursday to take part in an educational event organised by Show Racism the Red Card in partnership with the CUFC Community Sports Trust and the club.
Youngsters from Holm Cultram Abbey CofE School, Brook Street School, Caldew Lea School and Norman Street School came together to take part in workshops exploring racism and stereotypes, and Hate Crime, designed to raise awareness and spark debate and ideas about these serious issues.
And the children were treated to a special surprise to round off the event when first team players Jack Iredale, Olufela Olomola and Mo Sagaf, as well as CUFC Ladies team manager Tracy Gannon, popped in to say hello and to answer questions about their thoughts and experiences with hate crimes and racism.
CST manager John Halpin said: “These events are fantastic and we can’t thank the team from SRtRC enough for coming along.
“The children got to learn about some very serious issues with the tasks they were set and you could tell that the messages had sunk in when they started to question the players later in the afternoon.
“Yet again this was an excellent event and I know all of the schools took a lot away from it from having been involved.”
When asked what he would do if he witnessed any behaviour of a racist nature, midfielder Mo Sagaf said: “I've witnessed things before, but it's never been aimed at me, but I think the main message is to make sure you report it to someone, whether it's a teacher or just an adult you trust, to make sure something gets done about it.
"Even when things aren't said to you it's upsetting to hear and it doesn't feel right, so you should always make sure you report it.”
Defender Jack Iredale added: “Growing up in Australia, we had a lot of people from different races and religions and I was very close friends with a lot of different people. Because we had such a multi-cultural environment, everyone was educated and there were very few incidents of racism.
"Seeing things like what happened in Bulgaria in the recent game against England is disgusting to see, and it comes from people not being educated. It's so important to report these things, and the kids of today have a really big part to play in making sure racism is a thing of the past when they grow up."
Striker Olufela Olomola said: “No one is born racist, kids will always play with everyone no matter what their religion or race is, so racism comes from how they are brought up and educated.
"That's why these events are so important, so we can make sure the children here know what is right and wrong. Hopefully they can then pass that on to their friends and anyone else who might not be behaving in the correct manner."
Thank you to all of the children who came to the event and well done for the superb questions you asked.
The three best questions were picked by our panel, and each winner recieved a signed SRtRC shirt and two tickets for a United match at Brunton Park.
Click HERE for more information on the Show Racism the Red Card project.