13 February 2019

It was fantastic to welcome back to the school three of our former pupils who have gone on to play starring roles for their clubs and country in rugby league.  Oliver Gildart, Joe Burgess and Luke Thompson have represented Wigan Warriors and St Helens respectively for a few years now and have also represented England.  The whole school community have a tremendous sense of pride that Oliver, Joe and Luke have gone on to make such successes of themselves, but we are all even prouder of the type of people they have become.  They were all so well-mannered, grounded and respectful when they were pupils and they are equally so today despite all their success. 
Oliver was Deputy Head Boy when he was a pupil and set a fantastic example for all pupils to follow.  He made his debut for Wigan Warriors in 2015 and has gone on to win two Grand Finals in 2016 and 2018, World Club Challenge winner in 2017 and was voted Super League Young Player of the Year in 2017. He made his England debut in the first Test of the 2018 Baskerville Series against New Zealand scoring the try of the series in the process!
Joe was a prefect when he was a pupil and always carried out his duties extremely well.  I remember him having a particularly mischievous sense of humour!!  He made his debut for Wigan Warriors in 2013 and has gone on to win the Grand Final in 2018, World Club Challenge in 2017 and made the Super League Dream Team in 2015. He also played in the NRL with Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs in the 2016 season.  He made his England debut in 2015 and played in the Test Series against New Zealand. 
Luke was a particularly dedicated pupil, representing the school superbly well when winning the North West Schools in 2011 and reaching the National Schools final in 2012.  I remember seeing his Saints socks after one training session and suggesting he turned his allegiances to Wigan, but alas, even then he only had aspirations to play for St Helens! He made his debut for St Helens in 2014 and won the Grand Final in the same year.  What a year 2018 was for Luke! He won the St Helens Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and the Members’ Player of the Year awards (all three major awards), he was selected as part of the 2018 Dream Team, made his England debut against France in October and started for England at loose forward in the Anfield Test as part of the Baskerville Series against New Zealand, winning the Players’ Player of the Match award.   
We are creating a new ‘International Wall’ at school to celebrate our three current England internationals (the fourth former pupil on the wall is Megan Finnigan who plays for the England Women’s Football Team) and what a fantastic tribute to our former pupils that our current pupils can walk past every day! I can honestly state that Oliver, Joe and Luke could not be better role models for our pupils currently in school.  They have proved themselves to be world class in a sport they love and they are the embodiment of our core message at school, which is to be the best version of yourself every day to reach your potential. Everyone at St Edmund Arrowsmith wishes them every success in the coming season and future seasons.  
We have a very proud heritage of rugby players at the school and I wanted to list them, as we are very proud of all of them! 
We have a very proud heritage of rugby players at the school, due to the huge part played and because of the efforts of John Griffin who taught PE for 27 years!  Thanks to John who has produced the following list:

Kieron Purtill (‘93). Played at Wigan and Leigh and now head coach at Widnes.
Kevin Mannion (‘94) - Academy Coach at Gloucester RUFC
Liam Bretherton (‘95) - Wigan, Leigh
Martin Carney (‘95) - Warrington
John Duffy (‘96) - Warrington, Leigh, Scotland and now Head Coach at Leigh.
Karl Fitzpatrick - Widnes, Salford, Ireland and now CEO at Warrington.
Shaun Briscoe (‘99) - Wigan, Hull, Hull KR and England
Steve Maden (‘99) - St Helens, Warrington, Leigh
Chris Briers (2000) - Fylde and Lancashire RU (still playing first team rugby at Fylde)
Paul Ballard (‘01) - Leigh, Oldham 
Andy Ballard (‘02) - Wigan, Salford, Oldham
Gary Sykes (‘02) - Swinton 
Jay Duffy (‘03) - Wigan, Leigh, Whitehaven, Batley
Greg Mannion (‘03) - St Helens and now Academy coach at Leicester Tigers.
Darrell Goulding (‘04) - Wigan, Hull KR and England
Jamie Foster (‘06) - St Helens, Hull, Featherstone, Workington
Ryan Smith (‘06) - North Wales Crusaders
David Houghton (‘06) - Whitehaven and others
Jordan Gibson (‘08) - Leigh, and still playing for Haydock, NWLionhearts and England Lions.
Chris Ford (‘08) - Warrington, Salford, and in France
Craig Briscoe (‘09) - Leigh, Oldham and others
John O’Donnell (‘09) - Wigan, Sale and Ireland RU 7s)
Jonny Ford (‘10) - Salford, Oldham 
Scott Turner (‘10) - Warrington, Oldham and North Wales Crusaders.
Joe Burgess (‘11) - Wigan, South Sydney and England
Luke Thompson (‘11) - St Helens and England
Joe Collins (‘11) - Warrington 
Joe Bretherton (‘12) - Wigan, Toulouse
Oliver Gildart (‘12) - Wigan and England 
Macauley Davies (‘13) - Wigan
Lewis Fairhurst (‘13) - Salford, Keighley, Dewsbury, North Wales Crusaders and England Universities.
Pat Moran (‘14) - Warrington and Ireland
Mike Weldon (‘14) - St Helens, Sheffield, Rochdale.
Declan O’Donnell (‘15) - Leigh and Ireland
Ethan Havard (‘17) - Wigan Academy
Adam Lavin (‘18) - Wigan Academy
Alex Pendlebury (‘18) - Warrington Academy
 
Also, Women’s RL is not a professional sport yet, but currently representing Wigan Warriors:
Lucy Baggaley (‘15) - Wigan Warriors Women
Emily Baggaley (‘15) - Wigan Warriors Women
Jade Gregory-Haseldon (’14) - Wigan Warriors Women
Megan Bragg (Year 11) - Wigan Warriors Womens 

 

If you are a former pupil of the school and are not listed above, please accept my apologies and send us an email at enquiries@arrowsmith.wigan.sch.uk to let us know - I will add your name to the ever-growing distinguished list!