England physio Gary Lewin in Harold Wood school charity talk

Gary Lewin, England physio speaking at Redden Courtt school for a rainbow nation event - the school'

Gary Lewin, England physio speaking at Redden Courtt school for a rainbow nation event - the school's charity. - Credit: Archant

A charity Thierry Henry helped launch eight years ago is now on the brink of going national.

Rainbow Nation began as an anti-racism campaign at Redden Court School, in Cotswold Road, Harold Wood, but has now grown into a charity in its own right.

Every year, patron and former pupil, Gary Lewin, physiotherapist for the England football team who famously broke his ankle while celebrating during the World Cup this year, visits the school to chat to Year 7 pupils about the charity.

He said: “I was a pupil at Redden Court between 1975-80 - I left to become a footballer at Arsenal but when I didn’t make it the school arranged for me to come back and do my A-levels. If it wasn’t for Redden Court I wouldn’t be doing what I am now.

“I come back three or four times a year for Rainbow Nation.

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“It started with Thierry Henry eight or nine years ago. He spoke up about racism. We did a video link talking to the school. It was a project to get kids talking about anti racism. Kids come from so many different backgrounds these days.”

Meg Ryan, director of Rainbow Nation and head of art at Redden Court School, is now looking to expand the charity further.

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Gary added: “It expanded five years ago. It’s all round the world now, Meg is in contact with people in New Zealand, China and America.”

The physiotherapist was unable to avoid talk about his injury - which was brought up during a question and answer session with pupils.

“Today was good,” he said. “I got asked about the World Cup and one girl asked how my ankle was. It’s good. I’ve done the last four games after having 10 weeks off.”

Meg expects the charity to go national soon, and even hinted at a few famous faces at the celebration should that happen - though wouldn’t be pushed on who they are.

Read more:

French diplomat backs Harold Wood school charity

Hollywood actor inspired by Redden Court School’s anti-racism project

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