Walking the walk at ARK Blacklands
ARK Blacklands Primary Academy took part in the recent Walk to School Week, under the enthusiastic leadership of teaching assistant James Bacon, who turned his personal participation into an opportunity to raise funds for the Stroke Association in memory of late council leader Jeremy Birch. James explained all to Nick Terdre.
The Walk to School initiative was launched by the Living Streets charity, which campaigns on behalf of pedestrians and public spaces. This year it took place from 18 to 22 May.
“Walking is the most reliable, easy and healthy mode of travel, yet as a nation walking rates are in shocking decline with damaging consequences for our children’s future,” James wrote in a letter to parents encouraging them to join in. “With school pupil numbers projected to rise year on year the school run is expected to have an increasingly negative impact on congestion and our children’s health.
“We strongly believe that walking to school will save you money, be educational, as well as improve your health and environment.”
The message clearly sounded a chord with parents, and James reports that the week went incredibly well, as many left the car at home and accompanied their children to school on foot. “A big thank you to everyone for taking part in our Walk to School Week and hope this has inspired many of us who previously didn’t walk to school to continue this daily activity,” he said. “I certainly will be walking more often, especially after losing a few pounds and feeling more healthy by doing so.”
James also got a good response to his challenge to children to draw posters promoting the campaign. “I am pleased see a high standard of well designed Walk to School themed posters which have been clearly thought about in regards to displaying important information for us all to read and think about,” he told HOT. Winners will be announced at this week’s assembly.
Saddened by the recent death of Councillor Jeremy Birch after a severe stroke, James also took the opportunity to raise funds for the Stroke Association by sponsoring him to walk to school barefoot each day. He was then challenged to undertake the barefoot walk with his toe-nails painted red, which he did. By late May he had raised more than £370.
“Jeremy’s love for this town was immeasurable,” James says in a tribute to Jeremy. “His passion for the socialist ideals of equality, fairness and compassion will forever be regarded in awe; but most importantly, your friendship to us will be what we miss the most.
“A true gent, a loyal and committed leader and a great man! Hastings will miss you dearly! Thank you for all you have done, Jeremy Birch.”
Did any other local schools take part in Walk to School Week? We’d love to hear from you if you did.
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