Former Weston AFC captain Kirk launches first book - The Healthy Happy School

Ben Kirk with his book The Healthy Happy School.

Ben Kirk with his book The Healthy Happy School. - Credit: Ben Kirk

A former Weston AFC captain has gone from being number one on the team sheet to a number one best selling author.

Ben Kirk, who played in 127 matches and scored seven goals for The Seagulls between 2010-14, launched his first book, The Healthy Happy School, in May and reached number one of new releases on School Education and Teaching on Amazon.

Kirk said he was left “so proud” by the success of his book, where on the first day over 60 copies were sold, but insisted it’s all about the “important message” of helping children getting regular exercise.

The founder and director of Inspired Schools used his role with the business to help put the finished product together to aim at helping schools “realise the impact of PE and physical activity can have on children”.

Kirk believes changes need to be made as subjects like PE, Music and Performing Arts are seen as bottom of the ladder, behind Maths, English and Science. He feels PE should sit at the top, especially throughout the last year after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Weston's midfielder Ben Kirk, left, fires in the winning goal against Yeovil to secure the Somerset

Weston AFC's midfielder Ben Kirk, left, fires in the winning goal against Yeovil to secure the Somerset County Cup for the Seagulls. - Credit: Bob Bowen


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“Within the book there is research, not just done by me, but collaborative research that’s been done over the years around physical activity and the benefits it can bring,” he said.

“I remember teaching a lesson and coming up at the school, the children were late coming out and filtering into my lesson. It was a short lesson,, around 45 minutes, and this poor boy came out with about five minutes to go as we started to get the equipment in.

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“You could see on his face he was distraught, I don’t know the boy but he looked like he enjoyed PE and he was a sporting child. That type of thing still goes on and it shows to me schools don’t quite get it yet.

“I think we are very much stuck in our ways here in the education system in this country that schools teach and do things how they have always done it. Where as I think it’s time for a little shake-up.

“I think here physical activity should be central to that and the schools should start to value PE more which will then start benefiting other areas of school like entertainment levels, attendance, concentration, focus and behaviour. That was why I wrote it really.”

Ben Kirk launched The School Run podcast in May.

Ben Kirk launched The School Run podcast in May. - Credit: Ben Kirk

After signing for Weston, from Bridgwater Town, Kirk went on to play for Bideford andTaunton Town in a 13-year semi-professional career.

Now Kirk has a new role to help promote the importance of physical activity around the country and has also set up a podcast, called The School Run, to highlight the role of professional athletes.

Set up in May this year, nine episodes have already been produced.

Nine sportsmen and women have been on the programme including former Bristol City footballer Scott Murray, Somerset cricketers Max Waller and Sophie Luff and Paralympic gold medalist Neil Fachie.

And Kirk says the link between the book and podcast is “all geared around the same message”.

“The book is more aimed at teachers but the podcast message is very similar in that I’m sharing and speaking to current and former athletes from childhood about what they do now and their journey to professional sport,” he said.

“There has been a number of themes that have come out in the interviews, they all experienced the same kind of things. Yes they are all different but it’s usually some major influence in their life. Either at school or home that has helped them find a love within sport.

“The most important message is you don’t have to be a professional athlete. Yes, I’m speaking to professional athletes but they love what they do and did and not just playing sport at an elite level but everything else that comes with it.

“That’s the message I’m trying to get out there through the book and the podcast, sport, physical activity and PE should be fun, it should be the best time of the year.”

To buy Kirk’s book, visit https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B093ZSMW8R/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_BK4E0C5ZN5WBN63ZPNAR

To check out the Podcast, visit https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-school-run/id1569775836

Follow Kirk on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest news and updates involving his book and podcast, @benkirk8.

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