Boxer Brian Rose launches 2020 SPAR Lancashire School Games

Children from across the county celebrated the official launch of the 2020 SPAR Lancashire School Games on Thursday 13th February, at a VIP launch event held at James Hall & Co.’s SPAR distribution centre in Preston.

100 schoolchildren from 14 Lancashire districts officially launched the county’s largest youth sporting event, enjoying inspirational talks, a tour of James Hall & Co.’s 35,000sq ft. warehouse, lunch and SPAR branded goodies bags, alongside special guest and professional boxer, Brian Rose.

Brian Rose, Blackpool resident and middleweight professional boxer, left the children spellbound with stories from his career, crediting sport as an excellent way of ensuring good physical and mental health: “So many kids could benefit from using sport as a way to channel frustration and aggression. I was quite a mischievous child and focusing on boxing definitely helped keep me on the straight and narrow.

“Sport can teach you so many life lessons including how to deal with setbacks and disappointment. I have had both amazing highs and devastating lows in my career and have found you need dedication, hard work and the strength not to give in when times get hard.”

During Brian’s first title fight in 2009, his opponent, Jason Rushton, suffered serious brain damage, which Brian really struggled to come to terms with: “I didn’t box for a year after my fight with Jason and couldn’t face getting back in the ring.

“As a boxer, you’re meant to be unbreakable but I just wanted to give up. I only started to accept what had happened after I admitted I needed help and went to see a psychologist. I really want children to understand the importance of talking and that asking for help shouldn’t be taboo.”

Brian went on to claim the British title in 2011, which he has defended three times, and today runs his own gym in Blackpool, whilst training for his next big fight.

Adrian Leather, chief executive at Active Lancashire, said: “The SPAR Lancashire School Games is a unique programme which was designed around the magic of the 2012 Olympics and aims to motivate and inspire children to live active, healthy lives.

“Our network of fantastic Lancashire School Games Organisers work throughout the year to inspire teachers’ confidence in delivering regular sport sessions to ensure that children in Lancashire have opportunities to take part in competitive sport, regardless of their school’s size, location or financial resources.

“Now the largest youth sporting event in the county, the games provide not only traditional sports such as netball and athletics but also inclusive events such as angling, PAN ability football and a dedicated disability swimming gala. With the added excitement of Tokyo 2020, it promises to be a very inspirational year for young people and sport!”

Sponsored by James Hall & Co., SPAR wholesaler for the north of England, Peter Dodding, Sales and Marketing Director at James Hall & Co. said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be in our fourteenth year of sponsorship for the SPAR Lancashire School Games.

“The ethos of the games fits perfectly with SPAR’s commitment to the sponsorship of British and European Athletics, and we are proud to be able to support Active Lancashire in promoting the importance of good health and physical activity across the county.”

To find out more about the games and how to get involved, visit