Slideshow: Leeds United fans swamp store for autographs

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THOUSANDS of Leeds United fans swamped the White Rose Centre as the club’s stars turned out in force to support a keep-fit campaign.

Neil Kilkenny, David Somma, Jonny Howson, Luciano Becchio, Kasper Schmeichel, Max Gradel and Billy Paynter were backing the Sainsbury’s Active Kids Campaign launched at its supermarket in the shopping centre near Morley.

Simon Grayson and Luciano Becchio walk past the waiting crowds.

Simon Grayson and Luciano Becchio walk past the waiting crowds.

A queue of autograph hunters snaked outside the store’s entrance and into the car park.

One fan, 14-year-old Jordan Gregson, said: “It’s great to have the chance to meet so many of the players at once.”

Sainsbury’s regional manager, Jonathan Carr, said: “It’s fantastic to have the Leeds lads here today and we very much appreciate their support.

“But it’s not just about using famous people to promote the campaign, it’s also about engaging with our local community.”

The supermarket and club are promoting more active, healthier lifestyles among young people.

Sainsbury’s campaign includes initiatives to get more children into sport, outdoor activities and healthy eating.

Exercise kit, dancing lessons and cooking equipment are available for schools and children’s clubs using vouchers given out when you buy from Sainsbury’s.

United manager Simon Grayson said: “This is massive for the community and a big event for Leeds United.

“Obviously sport is essential in encouraging a healthy lifestyle for kids and we at Leeds are proud to play our part in promoting that.”

A recent survey commissioned by the NHS found that 30 per cent of boys aged 2-10 were overweight or obese – rising to 34 per cent for those aged 11-15 – with a similar situation for girls.

Figures such as these have contributed to a tripling in the levels of childhood obesity over the last 20 years.

Sainsbury’s held a number of activities during the day including a cooking demonstration and free fruit giveaway.

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Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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