STARS OF TOMORROW
WIDNES skipper Jon Clarke
has been recruited by the RFL to deliver a series of presentations
across Super League Academies in a bid to educate players as they
begin their journey as professionals.
Clarke, 34, has won Challenge Cups and is a Grand Final winner, he's
also represented his country and has become one of the most educated
men in Super League, but it's not been easy for him to reach these
Hard work, being able to overcome adversity and tests of character
and learning to live with a mistake is something that has shaped the
man and role model he is today.
In the run up to the 1998 and 1st ever Grand Final, a young Clarke
was dropped by Wigan boss John Monie in favour of Mick Cassidy, the
hooker who was returning from a 6 game suspension for an elbow on
Monie's decision to make Clarke 18th man was to have a profound
effect on his life. And what happened in the early hours of Sunday,
25 October 1998 shook the 19 year old and then captain of Great
Britain Academy to the core.
He was involved in a serious incident that Clarke used as a positive
and made him the professional Vikings youngsters look up to around
"Mick's ban was up on the day of the Final and John Money dropped me
for Grand Final. What happened after that is the subject of my
presentation and talk which I now deliver on behalf of the RFL to
young players across the country. I talk about this emotional state
I was in on the night of the Final. After the Final there was a lot
of drink consumed, drinking on the pitch, in the dressing room, at
Central Park and then a pub crawl on the way to the Town Centre.
There was an incident where I got thrown out of the club. There was
a bit of a scuffle and as I was walking off someone abused me and I
hit a guy and broke his neck. I ended up getting sent to jail. I
talk about how things can accumulate and end up in a bad way. It was
a nightmare and something I deeply regret." Clarke
Clarke had a spell in prison but instead of turning that experience
into a negative he used it as a driver to get his life back on
track. The stint inside gave him focus to try and achieve something
in his life, whether that be in or out of Rugby League.
Clarke ended up at London Broncos where he began to piece his life
together. He was successful in the capital and then earned a move to
Warrington where he was for 11 seasons.
It's that experience that the Vikings hooker uses as the focus of
his informative talks with the stars of the future.
As part of the Professional Players Programme, Clarke presents one
segment of seven workshops. Each has a different theme; from sex
education to integrity in sport. Clarke's speech, which has been
rated the highest amongst recipients, revolves around
responsibility, decision making and knowing how to react to
situations that arise everyday for professional Rugby League
Clarke, who has a BSc in Sports Science and an MSc in Strength and
Conditioning, delivered the keynote speech for the RFL on the latest
player performance day, and he says he's more than happy to educate
the stars of tomorrow. He said:- "This is something that is
quite unique and it's about an experience I went through when I was
19 years old. I talk about the dangers of being in certain
situations, some like mine were caused through disappointment and
frustration, and I tie it under the header of responsibility. It's
something I'm really enjoying. I was in Hull last week and I think
the players really enjoy the sessions. If I can help them in a small
way then I've done my job. These are messages I'm sharing around the
young players at Widnes too."
Hull FC Academy player Jack Downs was one of the young men who has
benefitted from Clarke's talk. "The talk was very good from
Jon. At the age we are he has really opened my eyes to realise that
wherever you are as a rugby player you are always being watched. The
truth is that one hiccup or piece of bad behaviour can cost you. He
was honest with us and told us the truth. It was very interesting
and good to hear some great advice in the path to becoming a rugby
Ted Chapelhow, of the Vikings under 19's, added:- "All the
young players have so much respect for Jon. He's always giving his
advice and tips and are responsibilities as Rugby League players are
always reinforced to us. We're lucky to have him around."
University Air Squadron cadets at RAF Woodvale on Wednesday
THE Liverpool University
Air Squadron cadets at RAF Woodvale on Wednesday with their thank
you certificates from ssafa (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families
Families Association) for helping ssafa collect £4,264.15 on
numerous occasions at Central Station and Aintree Racecourse during
CLA backs new
T-shirt to raise awareness of sky lantern danger
CLA in the North is backing a new T-shirt, designed by an East
Yorkshire farmer, to raise awareness of the dangers sky lanterns
pose to people, property, livestock and the environment.
Brainchild of East Yorkshire farmer Jono Dixon, co-founder of
Twitter-based farmers' group #clubhectare, the T-shirt features a
sky lantern in a red prohibited sign and a new hashtag for those
wishing to show support on social media sites: #banskylanterns
The CLA recently called for local authorities to amend entertainment
licence policies so new licences for certain venues or events can
include a clause prohibiting the use of sky lanterns. The
organisation has also called for this to be backed up by a ban on
CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said:- "We are
launching this new T-shirt to coincide with Chinese New Year on
Friday, 31 January 2014, when there is sure to be an upsurge in use
of the lanterns as part of the festivities. People need to realize
that if they release one of these lanterns into the sky they risk
being responsible for the slow and very painful death of a cow or
other grazing livestock, or a fire that destroys someone's home,
business or life. A report published last year on behalf of Defra
that investigated the impact of sky lanterns on livestock and the
environment estimated that between three and eight million sky
lanterns are sold each year in the UK. With such a large amount of
lanterns being purchased, and ultimately released, it is extremely
likely the number of serious incidents caused by these flying
bonfires is going to increase substantially."
The T-shirts are being sold at £6.75 each with 50p per sale being
donated to charity RABI. To purchase one, contact Mr Dixon via
Twitter using his @sunkfarmer handle; people can follow and then
direct message him for more details. Alternatively, contact the CLA
North office on:- 01748 907070 or by email
audition dates now released!
TEENSTAR singing audition
dates are now released! TeenStar, the UK's only singing competition
exclusively for pre-teens and teenagers, have now released their TeenStar singing audition dates for their next singing competition
starting in January 2014. Auditions for TeenStar National Singing
Competition 2014 will be held in Liverpool on Sunday, 9 February
The TeenStar singing competition for pre-teens and teenagers
consists of a UK-wide search for the finest young talent the UK has
to offer, with TeenStar singing audition dates being held across the
country. The competition culminates in a spectacular National Grand
Final, with last year's event being held within The O2 in London.
The TeenStar singing competition
for pre-teens and teenagers attracted over 9,000 entrants to apply
for the 2013 TeenStar singing audition dates in its 1st year, but it
was the uniquely talented Luke Friend who was crowned the winner in
an impressive showcase of the nation's future stars.
The TeenStar singing competition for pre-teens and teenagers is
brought to you by Future Music, the company behind the discovery of
artists such as Warner Music's Birdy, Columbia Record's Lucy Spraggan, Union J's Jaymi Hensley and Jahmene Douglas, both of which
are now signed to Sony Music, and Luke Friend who's currently
storming his way through The X Factor!
The TeenStar singing competition for pre-teens and teenagers has a
prize pool worth thousands of pounds, including a £5,000 cash prize
for the winning act to help develop their music as well as a chance
to feature in top teen magazine Shout Mag. Contestants of the
TeenStar singing competition for pre-teens and teenagers also have
the chance to win prizes throughout the competition, such as
recording studio time with some of the UK's top producers, singing
lessons and extensive promotion on YouTube.
The TeenStar singing auditions dates and competition events take
place at some of the best venues in the UK including Birmingham's
NEC, Sheffield City Hall and Camden's Dingwalls and will be judged
by some of the music industry's top professionals, including DJs who
work for radio stations such as BBC Radio 1, BBC Introducing, Kiss
FM, Choice FM, plus national and regional press, local studios and
The National Grand Final is the
climax of the whole competition and is staged at 1 of the most
prestigious live music venues in the Country, with last year's event
held within The O2 in London!
The TeenStar singing auditions dates and competition events are
split into three age categories - the 'Late Teens' (16
to 19), the 'Mid Teens' (13 to 15) and a special
category to search for the stars of tomorrow; the Pre-Teens!
Whether it's pop, RnB, grime,
acoustic or classical, the singing competition for pre-teens and
teenagers TeenStar singing auditions dates have been released to
find the greatest undiscovered talent from across the Country.
The singing competition for
pre-teens and teenagers TeenStar provides a platform to help acts
get noticed and offers winners the potential to be successfully
launched in the UK as a major recording artist.
TeenStar singing auditions dates are available across the UK, so if
you're a pre-teen or teen singer and think you've got what it takes,
for more information and to enter go to:-