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Former Chelsea hard man Dennis Wise’s gift to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 17:08 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:10 30 October 2018

Former Chelsea footballer Dennis Wise, front right, presents a minibus to Lorraine Bliss, front left, chief executive of the St Edmunds Society, with some of the staff and students. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Former Chelsea footballer Dennis Wise, front right, presents a minibus to Lorraine Bliss, front left, chief executive of the St Edmunds Society, with some of the staff and students. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

On the pitch he was a tough-tackling midfielder, but former Chelsea hard man Dennis Wise was in Norwich to show his charitable side this week.

Staff and students at the St Edmunds Society welcomed the former England footballer to their centre on Tuesday, 30 October when he officially handed over a mini bus from the Dennis Wise and Frankham Group Charitable Trust.

The school is a collaborative vocational learning hub providing alternative learning for young people entering construction, transport maintenance, catering and hospitality and hair and beauty.

Lorraine Bliss MBE, chief executive at St Edmunds, said: “We wanted a mini bus because we work with an enormous amount of young people and there’s a need to move them about.

“I can’t thank Dennis Wise and Frankham Group enough for what they have done, to get that sort of support is incredible.”

Former Chelsea footballer Dennis Wise, front right, presents a minibus to Lorraine Bliss, front left, chief executive of the St Edmunds Society. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFormer Chelsea footballer Dennis Wise, front right, presents a minibus to Lorraine Bliss, front left, chief executive of the St Edmunds Society. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

After an application was sent to Mr Wise’s charity, he arranged a visit to the educational centre to find out more about its work.

Mr Wise, who appeared in the jungle in last year’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here television show, said: “I think it’s important to see what people are involved with and what they’re doing and that is why I came so far to see St Edmunds.

“I was from a working class background and a poor area so I understand people that have struggled in life and need help.”

In the past, the charitable trust has also funded projects like sensory rooms and wheelchairs.

Some of the construction students at work at the St Edmunds Society. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSome of the construction students at work at the St Edmunds Society. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Wise said: “I could see that everybody who worked here wanted to try and help these children, when you meet the staff and walk around the building.

“Just because you’re not academic doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that you can’t qualify, get into a trade and get a job.”

Wise played as a central midfielder, he signed for Chelsea on July 3, 1990 for a then-club record fee of £1.6 million.

Mr Wise remembers playing Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday, September 12, 1992. He said: “We played in Norwich a few times, it was always an awkward place to play with the travelling.

Former Chelsea footballer Dennis Wise, front right, presents a minibus to Lorraine Bliss, front left, chief executive of the St Edmunds Society, with some of the staff and students. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFormer Chelsea footballer Dennis Wise, front right, presents a minibus to Lorraine Bliss, front left, chief executive of the St Edmunds Society, with some of the staff and students. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I remember at the start of the season against Norwich and we got beat 3-2, I remember that game because Dave Beasant made a couple of mistakes.”

As a registered charity, St Edmunds relies on donations from businesses and members of the public.

Anyone interested in St Edmunds can email admin@st-eds.org.uk

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