Liverpool player Virgil van Dijk joins McDonald’s Fun Football to bring Easter joy to UK kids

Liverpool center back Virgil van Dijk and Aston Villa top scorer Ollie Watkins, among other football heroes, conducted Fun Football and Happy Readers activities across the UK during Easter. Every event included customized Fun Football instruction for neighborhood youngsters and a Happy Readers library Little People BIG DREAMS read-along.

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The football legends distributed thousands of books and footballs to visiting families at each location throughout the day and donated 5,000 books to their local charities, Skylarks in Birmingham, Displaced People in Action in Cardiff, and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

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The exclusive events promoted McDonald’s ongoing support of families and communities in the UK and Ireland, including the distribution of over 10 million books through the Happy Readers program and the provision of over 2 million hours of free Fun Football sessions annually, as well as the benefits of reading and physical activity on children’s development.

Virgil van Dijk stated, “Liverpool is a special place, and I love being able to give back to the community that supports us so passionately.” Like McDonald’s, I think all kids should play and learn. My family and I are passionate about this matter, hence I’m here.

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McDonald’s is aiding families by offering more free books and Fun Football coaching. Today, we gave out over 3,000 books to children, and from what I saw in the reading area and on the field, we may have future football players and authors.

Virgil van Dijk is an ambassador for McDonald’s Fun Football

“Our goal is to make sure every child, regardless of background or situation, can enjoy reading and football,” said McDonald’s UK and Ireland Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Graham-Clare. Happy Readers and Fun Football—two of our most significant projects—will premiere in 2023. We aim to combine children with varied interests and show them they can enjoy reading and sports together. Families need unlimited access to both, and we will ensure this. We plan more engaging Happy Readers and Fun Football initiatives for UK communities this year.

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“We’re thrilled to see McDonald’s combining football and books for this amazing series of events,” said National Literacy Trust CEO Jonathan Douglas CBE. The National Literacy Trust knows how sports passion can inspire kids to read. This new study indicates that reading and physical activity don’t have to mix for a child’s enjoyment and progress. It’s encouraging to see inspirational athletes promote reading while exercising.

McDonald's Fun Football (@FunFootballUK) / X