The Y3 class of Concord Junior School, in Wincobank, joined thousands of children across the country this week letting the Lions know just how much they inspire them.
And rather than just being a writing exercise, the boys and girls now know their messages have made a difference after one of their letters by eight-year-old Star Stancill was shared on Twitter and retweeted by Marcus Rashford MBE.
When teacher Dan Williamson got to class on Monday, he expected a room of tired, glum children feeling the sting of the nation’s defeat at Wembley.
“But they weren’t miserable like the rest of us,” said Dan. “Straight away it was obvious that they were seeing what I wasn’t, and that coming second is still pretty good.”
It came on a day where three of England’s black players – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – had received online racial abuse over missing their penalty shots in the final minutes of the tournament.
Dan said: “In the afternoon, I suggested we could write letters to the players who missed.
“They didn’t need to be told what to say. They spoke from the heart and addressed what they thought was important. They immediately thought about what they would say to someone going through a bad time.”
One letter by Alfie Grayson, 8, reads: “You was brave about your pen and tried your best. You may be feeling annoyed but please don’t be, you got to the final, you’re heroes.”
Another by Phoebe Watts, 8, reads: “I know you lost but just know you were very brave and you always have another chance.”
"It was so heartwarming to see their kindness and wisdom,” said Dan. “They actually do know better than adults when we hear them speak directly from the heart about what they think matters.
“We teach them it’s not about the winning but the taking part, but we forget that ourselves as adults, don’t we?"
Soon after, Dan shared the letters with his partner Mia who posted them to her Twitter page – only for England forward and child food poverty activist Marcus Rashford to personally retweet one of them.
The letter by Star Stancill, 8, reads: “You may be feeling let down but please don’t be. You are amazing and don’t let a penalty make you upset, you are a truly kind, amazing hero.”
The retweet and Star’s words were liked by 253,000 people and have been seen by millions.
Dan said: “The players are remarkable in how they present themselves and children do see that. They know a hero when they see one.
"To actually know Marcus and the team have seen them is mindblowing. It really shows the kids their writing had an impact, it’s so powerful.”
Hundreds of thousands of people in England have shown their support for the team and particularly Rashford, Sancho and Saka following their abuse online.