By Andy Hirst

A former professional footballer from Huddersfield has just published a children’s book about how youngsters can also be heroes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shaun Weatherhead, 51, of Holmfirth, started his playing career at Huddersfield Town in 1989 before moving to York City and the defender then played in Hong Kong, China and South Africa before ending his career back in England at Accrington Stanley.

He is now well-known as chairman of Westend Juniors football club based at Salendine Nook and helped set up Westend Community Champions.

In 1998 Shaun qualified as a life coach, working at first with professionals and businesses before setting up an award-winning personal development programme for primary school children in 2006 called U Can Shine which takes a positive message out to schools.

One of the characters he uses to support children to improve their mental health and wellbeing by encouraging them to think of themselves as superheroes is UMan who is now the star of an illustrated book Shaun has just published called The Adventures of UMan and the Covid Kids.

READ MORE: UMan is on a mission to help

The book is all about the kindness, compassion and heroic actions shown by children as Covid-19 spread across the UK and how nine-year-old spirited ‘Yorkshire lass’ Remi became an unlikely hero as she brought happiness to the lives of many children stuck at home during the pandemic.

The book is due to be read by celebrities who are going to film messages on social media for  youngsters and they include comedian and actor John Thomson, Emmerdale and Coronation Street actress Hayley Tamaddon, actor Gary Hollywood from Mrs Brown’s Boys, actress Annette Badland who has been in lots of TV roles including Dr Who and Midsomer Murders and England rugby league star Stefan Ratchford.

The artwork is done by illustrator Tim Stead who lives in Silloth, Cumbria.

Dad-of-three Shaun said: “I’ve written the book with primary schoolchildren in mind to learn essential messages from the characters that kids are naturally resilient, courageous and also have the power within to achieve truly amazing things, even in times of great adversity.

“Children equipped with mental strength and greater inner resolve and self-belief will tackle daily challenges with a positive attitude.

“That’s the central message of U Can Shine which is all about boosting every child’s confidence and self-esteem, helping them develop the essential skills they will need to survive life’s pressures as they grow up.

READ MORE: Westend Community Champions hailed grassroots football heroes

“Children with the ‘DNA’ of inner confidence, inquisitiveness, compassion, respect, self-motivation, resilience, independence and positive attitude will have the necessary life skills to accomplish great things in their lives and U Can Shine is here to start that process.”

Shaun added: “Children are now growing up in a world that is rapidly changing in complexity, scale and challenge. At such a young age children live under more scrutiny, face more pressure to succeed and achieve at school and in their wider lives.”

The U Can Shine principles include:

Attitude – the way children conduct themselves, act and behave.

Enthusiasm – children with enthusiasm have a thirst for learning and are more prepared to take on personal challenges.

Courage – children should step out of their comfort zone, try new things and take risks.

Work hard – anything can be overcome through determination, persistent effort and hard work.

Resilience – develop character traits to overcome adversity.

Responsibility – children taking responsibility for their own thoughts, choices, feelings, decisions, actions and results.

The U Can Shine ethos

The U Can Shine message has now been taken out to 75,000 schoolchildren and to find out more about how it works go to

To buy the book which costs £9.99 with free posting on Amazon go to

For signed personalised copies contact 

* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content ANDY HIRST who now runs his own Huddersfield-based agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting for business in Yorkshire and across the UK.