A SPORTS foundation set up in the North-East by Tony Blair celebrated its fifth anniversary today (November 16) – and launched a new initiative to ensure more young people play sport.

The Pass it On campaign was launched at a function attended by Tony Blair Sports Foundation board member Tanni Grey-Thompson and foundation sports ambassador Steve Cram, as well as sports club partners, business partners and sport national governing bodies.

Mr Blair, who was scheduled to make an appearance at the event at the Copthorne Hotel, in Newcastle, had to cancel his engagement to be with his father, who has fallen ill.

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To date, the foundation has recruited and trained almost 2,500 volunteer sport coaches, officials and young leaders and has worked in 161 sports clubs and 94 schools across the region.

The volunteers have given grassroots sports clubs and schools across the region the manpower that they need to let more young people play sport.

Tony Blair Sports Foundation chief executive Jeanette Pickard said: “I am delighted at the achievements of the foundation from our launch in 2007 up until today, our fifth anniversary.

“Sport is such an important part of our live in the North-East and seeing the opportunities for participation increase thanks to our work is so rewarding.

“We have given thousands of our region’s young people the chance to play sport at school in a club, and I am eagerly anticipating what we can achieve ion the next five years.”

The Pass it On campaign will see the foundation work to capture the enthusiasm of the generation of young people who have been inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, by making sure these young people have the right coaches to support them and reach their full potential through sport.

For more information about how to get involved go to tonyblairsportsfoundation.org.