VIDEO: Hanley school marks Stoke City legend Sir Stanley Matthews' birthday in style
HUNDREDS of schoolchildren celebrated what would have been Sir Stanley Matthews' 98th birthday with a special assembly.
Youngsters from the late Stoke City and England legend's former school, St Luke's CofE Primary in Hanley, have raised more than £370 for charity.
The celebrations came as work began on an animated film about the 71-goal Wizard of the Dribble's life.
The film, named 'Spirit of the Game' tells a story of the influence Sir Stanley has had over generations. Pupils at St Luke's were allowed to wear sports gear as part of yesterday's event and many wore Stoke City shirts.
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They each donated £1 to the Sir Stanley Matthews Foundation.
Headteacher Mark Barlow, aged 40, said: "We use Sir Stan as an inspirational figure.
"He was a local boy who went on to be a legend. It proves to the children that they can be whatever they want to be."
Meanwhile, 'Spirit of the Game' will be directed by BAFTA award-winning English animator Tony White and based on the novel of the same name, by author Geoff Francis.
The plot is all about role models, and delves into themes of racism and aggression in modern football
Fictional teenage player Jamie Steel, who is embroiled in violence and hatred, encounters the ghostly presence Sir Stanley, who teaches him a better way to live and play.
Sir Stanley's daughter, Jean Gough, aged 74, said: "I'm terribly excited my father will be seen by the world again.
"He came from a time where the media was not like today. So much of what he did and said wasn't reported."
Jean went along to St Luke's for the school's special day yesterday.
She said: "It is fantastic that so many people celebrate today. The children all raised money and got a badge. Sport plays such a big part in our lives."
Yesterday's event came as a pair of Sir Stanley's football boots were identified at a museum.
The boots had been at the Hitchin Museum in Hertfordshire since the 1980s, when it inherited items from the town's former football museum.
But their origin was unknown until staff found paperwork and photographs that verified the owner.
Curator David Hodges said: "Everything matched up perfectly."
Sir Stanley was the first professional footballer to be knighted and his career spanned 33 years. The size seven leather boots date from the 1950s.
The makers of Spirit of the Game are offering people the chance to appear as an animated character as part of the story, in exchange for donations towards the movie's production. Visit www.spiritofthegamemovie.com
Stoke City legend Stanley Matthews is made Citizen of the Century
Video courtesy of Ray Johnson.