Este hosted a very wet but successful Eurofest from the 4 to 6 October. Sixty three people from Leek travelled out to Italy to take part.
The group included an U17 football squad and a number of musicians and dancers from Leek High School - their first visit back to Este for 3 years. Their Friday match was a decisive win 6-0 against a local team but they were on the back foot in their second match outside town. The stronger Italian side managed to keep a clean sheet and win 4-0. Paul Watts, head of sport at Leek High, was pleased with their performance and said “The boys did themselves proud, they performed brilliantly, conducted themselves professionally and were a credit to the school and the community of Leek. Educational visits like this not only provide the students with new sporting challenges but allow them to also experience social and cultural differences”. Team captain Tommy Coates said “The players' commitment was exceptional. The players' motivation and sense of fair play was in evidence throughout”.
The 6th Form musicians and dancers from Leek High performed in the festival's main square, luckily under cover during torrential rain, on both Saturday and Sunday nights. They shared the evening concerts with a group from Este and provided top entertainment. Leek High's head of music, Katie Raisbeck, said “Taking part in a performance is always a great and valuable experience, but performing on the Continent was even more exciting. The students overcame language barriers and flexible Italian timings with the professionalism which I have come to expect."
Educational visits like these provide invaluable opportunities for students to develop socially and morally, meeting new friends, practising new languages and visiting famous cities. The students conducted themselves brilliantly on the trip and are already looking forward to future return journeys to their twin town of Este.
Leek Rugby Club's U17 team were looking forward to a couple of hard matches hosted at Este's rugby club Celeste. The lads competed well in the first half but were eventually outplayed due to a lack of substitutes against a 30 strong academy squad from outside Este. A number of injuries were picked up and along with the state of the flooded pitch the second game had to be abandoned. This didn't stop the group making the most of their visit, taking a trip to Venice on the Sunday with Leek High and showing their support at the concerts. Team coach Adrian Holland said "The Leek U17 Rugby team can be proud of themselves for their conduct both on and off the pitch. They were matched against the 2 nd best U17 side in Italy and gave them a strong contest. This experience will be remembered by them for the rest of their rugby career and has been invaluable for both their sporting & social development” .
Leek Mayor John Fisher and his wife with members of Leek Twinning Committee joined the trip to lend their support and help with practical arrangements. This year the Twinning Committee was able to make a contribution of around £3,000 towards travel and accommodation for those youngsters taking part. Helen Ratcliffe, Chairman Leek Twinning Committee said "It is very rewarding to see young people from Leek experiencing cultural exchange in sport and music. For those of us who volunteer, it makes all the effort worthwhile. We were very proud of Leek's participation in this European event".