Wandsworth Youngsters Join Olympic Walk

Local School children take part in one of London's largest walking events ever

Two local primary schools, Riversdale and Our Lady Queen of Heaven, showed off their Olympic spirit last month by taking part in one of the largest walking events London has ever seen.
Pupils joined in the event in which a baton was passed anticlockwise all the way around London, passing through every one of the capital’s 33 boroughs.
After completing their leg of the journey, the Wandsworth walkers passed on the baton to children from Merton at a special ceremony in King Georges Park.
A total of 178 youngsters from eight different schools came to witness the handover and were greeted by a life-size Strider, the national walk to school mascot, as well as former Commonwealth and Olympic Games runner John Greatrex.  
Youngsters were then given the opportunity to hold aloft the Olympic torch from the 1948 Games and took part in orienteering and pedometer activities designed to teach valuable wayfinding and map reading skills.
The children also learnt about the health and environmental benefits of walking to school as well as the values of the Olympic movement.  
The participating classes each received a box of pedometers to take back to their schools, together with suggested activities to encourage them to keep walking.
The event, called the Big WoW, was held to celebrate both International Walk to School Month and the Walk on Wednesday (WoW) programme which the council has been supporting for the past six years.
Cabinet member for education and children’s services Cllr Kathy Tracey says:
“This was a terrific way of getting youngsters up on their feet and enjoying a good long walk. The day’s activities drove home the importance of walking to school and everyone involved got a real taste of what the Olympics is all about.
“In Wandsworth, we’ve been vigorously promoting walking to school initiatives for years and more than 30 of our schools are now taking part in the WoW programme. The aim is to reduce the number of school journeys made by car by rewarding pupils for walking to school at least once a week.
“As well as helping to tackle obesity, the initiative has dramatically reduced traffic congestion around schools as more children arrive on foot.”
This year 32 Wandsworth schools took part in Walk to School Month activities throughout October.
For more information visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/schooltravelplans
November 4, 2010