Champion cyclist Danny Butler visited a County Durham school on Friday April 17 as a reward for its work encouraging children to cycle to school.
St John’s Church of England (Aided) Primary School in Shildon was joint winner of the Durham section of the Big Pedal scheme run by charity Sustrans and funded by the Bike Hub, a cycle industry initiative which invests in projects in order to safeguard the future of cycling.
The accolade was in recognition of the school’s commitment to encouraging all aspects of healthy living in its young students, including taking plenty of exercise,
Headteacher Andrew Farnell said that the project fitted in with the school’s commitment to healthy living, saying: “If the children are fit and healthy then they perform better.”
Chair of Governors, the Revd David Tomlinson, said that the cyclist’s visit was also a way of inspiring the students.
“The Big Pedal is designed to encourage children to cycle and scoot to school and the visit by Danny Butler was a way of saying thank you for their efforts.”
He said; “Seeing Danny Butler riding his bike gives the children a sense that they, too, can achieve things in life.”
Trials rider Danny, who has national and international titles to his name, said: “It was great to visit the school. It gives the children something to aspire to. It lets them know that they can make a career doing something they love.”
Over the course of the three week competition schools in the North East racked up a huge 380,000 miles travelling to and from school (more than 15 trips around the world) saving almost 240,000 car journeys.
Marcus Watson, from Sustrans, said: “The Big Pedal is a great incentive for families to get more active. When cycling and scooting are incorporated into daily routines they can play a vital role in improving the health and wellbeing of our children. We need to do more to encourage families to do the school run the healthy way.”
Sustrans work in schools across South Durham, in partnership with Local Motion and Durham County Council, encouraging pupils and parents to make cheaper, greener, healthier, journeys to school.