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Monday 15 May 2023
Northern Ireland skipper surprises kids at Happy Readers session

Northern Ireland senior women’s team captain Marissa Callaghan has been encouraging kids from Dungannon to read books as they develop their life skills and football skills.

Marissa was the special guest at the Joe McAree Stadium in the Co Tyrone town as McDonald’s hosted a special pop-up experience for families through a collaboration between its well-known Fun Football and Happy Readers campaigns.

The event united families by providing free Fun Football coaching and free Little People Big Dreams books for the children to enjoy.

The Northern Ireland skipper kicked off proceedings by jumping into a special Fun Football session before sitting down to host a reading of Little People Big Dreams ‘I Can Be a Sports Champion’ from the Happy Readers library.

The event took place to highlight the need to support communities more than ever and will see McDonald’s build on its ongoing commitments to families in the UK. McDonald’s has committed to a distribution of over 10 million books through its Happy Readers programme and the provision of over two million hours of free Fun Football sessions in 2023.


David Walker, franchisee of the McDonald’s restaurant in Dungannon, said it was great to see children in Northern Ireland making the most of the long-running McDonald’s Happy Readers and Fun Football programmes.

“We have a rich history of supporting our communities and it’s brilliant to be able to provide an experience that can unite children with different interests,” he said.

“As a business we are passionate about supporting and showing up for local families, be that by offering free football coaching sessions or by providing access to millions of books, to help ease the pressure we are all feeling currently. Seeing all the smiles on the children’s faces has been the highlight of the day.”

Marissa said: “It was great to be part of the Happy Readers Fun Football event. Reading and sports are key to a child’s development and it’s lovely to see a huge brand like McDonald’s bring the two together at this unique and very special event.”

To find out more about the Happy Readers and Fun Football programmes, visit

Image: Marissa Callaghan, Northern Ireland senior women’s team captain, with some of the kids who enjoyed the Happy Readers Fun Football event in Dungannon.