By David Gold

david beckham_sainsburys_01-06-12June 1 - David Beckham surprised pupils and staff this morning when he turned up at Vaughan Primary School in Harrow to promote the Paralympics and the virtue of living a healthy lifestyle.

Beckham (pictured above, top right), arguably the world's most recognisable footballer, is an ambassador for Paralympic Games sponsor Sainsbury's and the supermarket giant arranged for him to visit the school – which was celebrating winning the Million Kids Challenge.

The challenge was conceived with the ambition of getting a million children to try a Paralympic sport by London 2012.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England star, who hopes to appear in this summer's Olympics for Team GB, was unveiled as an ambassador for the retail chain last year.

In November he appeared in an advert playing blindfolded with the British Paralympic visually impaired football team to promote the Games.

That advert was also to promote the Million Kids Challenge, and taking time out from his club team, Major League Soccer champions LA Galaxy, Beckham said: "Today it was a real privilege for me to meet the pupils and staff of Vaughan Primary.

"Their dedication to Sainsbury's Million Kids Challenge and their wider involvement and support for the London 2012 Paralympic Games is inspirational.

"I got the chance to chat with the children and the teachers who have worked so hard to really integrate Paralympic Sport into their day-to-day lessons.

"The Million Kids Challenge has been an amazing initiative and I would like to thank all the schools that took part.

"Having over two million kids giving Paralympic sport a go is truly amazing."

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The initiative was created by Sainsbury's in 2011 with the hope of encouraging youngsters to try out goalball, visually impaired football or sitting volleyball.

Sainsbury's provided equipment to the schools, clubs and organisations involved for free.

Some 2.4 million children had the opportunity to try out a Paralympic sport through the initiative, and Vaughan Primary ended up devoting an entire half term to the three sports.

The school has also since developed links with spinal injury charity Aspire, making them the school charity and forging a partnership with them.

"We were absolutely thrilled to be chosen as the winning school of the Million Kids Challenge, and to welcome David Beckham to Vaughan Primary was a once in a lifetime opportunity," said the school's headmaster Andrew Griffin.

"He met with teachers and pupils from the whole school and learnt about what we have been doing to include the Games and Paralympic sport into lessons and teaching.

"As you can imagine the children were over the moon to get the chance to spend time with David who is a real inspiration and the perfect role model.

"We will remember this day for a very long time."

Beckham also made a live television appearance with children in the school grounds on ITV's This Morning.

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Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King (pictured above, left) said: "What an amazing day.

"It was a real pleasure to arrange for David to meet with the pupils and staff and see firsthand how they have embraced the Paralympic Games.

"When I first heard about all the effort and hard work that the school has undertaken to truly integrate Paralympic sport into their curriculum, and how they have involved pupils in the Million Kids Challenge, it was clear that here was a school that deserved a great reward.

"I hope that the time that they spent with David was both enjoyable and inspirational."

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