R’S right-back Osman Kakay was back in the classroom last week, as he returned to his old secondary school, Queens Park Community School (QPCS), two miles away from Loftus Road.
The orchard is just yards away from the St Jude’s Hall, where the club was founded in the 1880s. It will see a number of fruit trees planted to improve air quality and encourage local biodiversity, with community involvement in planting and maintaining the orchard, and eventually harvesting the crops for eating, baking and juicing.
Kakay, who has been with QPR since the age of eight, told www.qpr.co.uk of his delight at celebrating the anniversary in the area where he grew up.
“QPR is a community club so it’s good for us to remember our roots. I grew up in Queen’s Park and used to go to QPR soccer schools as a kid, which was how I first got involved in the academy. The Community Trust is a big part of the club so I’m delighted to help it celebrate the tenth anniversary, as well as supporting a local initiative to improve the environment in West London and bring the community together.”
Cathy Maund, Chief Executive of HCGA, said: “This is as much about the community as it is about gardening, and it’s bringing people together. We are a small, local environmental charity, and QPR Trust has a bigger reach. Quite often we are working with the same kind of people so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship."
After the tree planting, Kakay joined a football coaching session at his old school, Queens Park Community School, and spoke to the pupils about his journey to becoming a professional footballer.
Chief Executive of QPR in the Community Trust, Andy Evans, added: “It’s great to have Osman out with us to celebrate the tenth anniversary of QPR in the Community the Trust by planting a tree in the Queens Park Community Orchard very close to where he grew up and where QPR was founded.
Ten years ago Osman was 11 years old and playing in our academy, and now he’s challenging for a first team place. It’s been a while since we’ve had local lads like him coming through to the first team squad so I’m really pleased that he is currently one of a number of QPR players in that position. It’s great that he is supporting the community orchard near where he grew up in Queen’s Park too.
“As the local football club to this area we do what we can to support and promote projects and organisations that benefit the community, whether it is initiatives like this one to improve air quality and the environment, or encouraging children and adults to be more physically active.”
Kakay and Eshun lend a helping hand
QPR players Osman Kakay and Kingsley Eshun took some time to visit the Queens Park Community Orchard - joint project run by Queen’s Park Community Council and local charity Hammersmith Community Gardens Association.