Read four books and get a free match ticket: Peterhead FC teams up with Aberdeenshire pupils to promote reading

Launching the new reading initiative for children at Balmoor Stadium were Cllr Gillian Owen, Cllr Dianne Beagrie and Jill Strachan. From Peterhead Library Emily Campbell, Cameron Beddie and Arran Thomson.

A new scheme is offering young north-east football fans a chance to see their heroes in action.

The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge is encouraging children aged five to 12 to read four books to secure a free child match ticket and a discounted adult ticket.

Peterhead FC is one of 14 SPFL sides taking part in the pilot project, a joint initiative with the Scottish Book Trust.

Aberdeenshire Council is one of 11 local authorities taking part and if the initiative hits the back of the net it could be extended across the country.

Children taking part will use a reading “challenge card” which will be sent out by the participating clubs and libraries.

For every book read they will receive a stamp on their card.

SPFL Trust Chief Executive Nicky Reid said: “The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge initiative is designed to encourage children who don’t regularly visit the library or participate in sport to do so.

“As such, we think it’s a real win-win opportunity for all concerned.

“Although this is a pilot project, we have high hopes that it can be a hugely successful programme, and so we are grateful to the SPFL for their support to allow us to kick-off.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, a charity changing lives through reading and writing, said:  “Taking part in sport and reading are both important for young people’s physical and mental health.

“As well as being fun, reading for pleasure can increase empathy, reduce stress and improve wellbeing, while all the research shows that children who read for pleasure also tend to do better at school.

“We’re delighted to work with the SPFL to use sport to encourage a love of reading in Scotland’s children.”