football, netball, and hockey which Mrs Wassell hopes will create more possibilities for inter- school competitions and events. Following an initial school visit in April where

The Dri-pla then

the kids were in awe of Ray’s stories from his 75-marathon test, he returned in May alongside his good friend Eve Rose and local television crews to kick off the dri-pla campaign with a mile lap around the school. Crusading to put more school focus on

The Dri-pla Now Since his marathon challenge back in 2016

which he did to raise funds for a new woodland path and disability-friendly play area at Newman School in Whiston, Ray has pioneered the Run a Mile a Day initiative in schools across Rotherham, encouraging children to run or walk a mile every day during school-time. Although the World Health Organisation

recommends children undertake 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily, research has found less than 40 percent of children actually complete this. Children these days aren’t as fit as their parents were at their age, with many unable to run without getting out of breath. By getting outside during lesson time for short

bursts of activity, Ray hopes this will help cut down on obesity levels and instil a less sedentary lifestyle in the next generation. There are currently 30 local schools

taking part and a further 25 interested for the forthcoming school year, with Ray hoping that Rotherham will be the first area in the UK to have all primary schools running a mile each day. “We’ve come a long way in recent years but

Rotherham is still at the top of the obesity charts. I’m hoping that if we can turn things around, it will prove to the government and OFSTED that physical education should be mandatory in the curriculum,” Ray says. St Bede’s are just one of the schools currently

involved in the scheme but the sorry state of their dri-pla means if the weather isn’t dry, the children cannot complete their daily mile. However, Mrs Wassell is hoping the new

sports area, which will include a race track around the perimeter, will help pupils form healthier, happier lifestyles that will lead to better performance back in the classroom. To fund the new all-weather sports surface,

the school has been awarded a £380,000 Condition Improvement Grant from the government. But before they can start work on the dri-pla, they must show willing and dedication to the cause by raising £7,000 of their own money before the grant is given. The new sports area will also have pitches for

physical activity, Ray spoke to teachers, parents and pupils about the benefits of his Run a Mile a Day initiative which has recently had scientific research backing from Leeds University PhD students. A simple idea that can be easily led by

teachers at any chosen time during the school day, the mile can be done in normal school uniform and shoes and at each individual child’s pace. It’s not a race, more a chance for children to work on their personal best, trying to run or walk further each day. As Ray predicted, the results seen by

teachers so far have been that children are more alert and awake with increased attention and memory once back in the classroom and ready to learn. Staff have also seen an improvement in overall well-being, with children having a better sleep pattern and diet. “When I was a lad at St Bede’s, some might

say that the education system back then was lacking in learning. It was more about having fun and being a child. “Today, I think it is so important for our future

generations to learn not only academic subjects, but also how to live well and physical activity is a massive part of that for me,” Ray says. Having inspired the entire school, Ray was

delighted that 32 children of all ages from St Bede’s signed up to take part in his inaugural Fun Run in Clifton Park in May where they joined both adults and older children from affiliated running clubs. And we are proud to announce that St Bede’s

were the first winners of the Schools’ Run a Mile a Day Cup which was sponsored by us here at Aroundtown. It was a close call between St Bede’s and

Whiston Junior and Infants but St Bede’s had four students first past the post. Alfie Nichols was the first school pupil back and came in sixth place;

Winning the cup

For more information about the event or the fundraising efforts, visit the dedicated page on the school website where you can find the JustGiving link and Facebook page to see more old photographs. /150-years

he was joined by Billy Lunn, Jakub Patyk and Owen Poole who made up the winning foursome. Mrs Wassell also laced up her running shoes

and got involved on the day as she took part in the first Rotherham 10K. “I only started running before Christmas

but I tore a ligament in February so I hadn’t run since then. But I was so inspired by Ray to keep pushing on that I decided to sign up and do it. I was so pleased I was there for the first one, the camaraderie on the day was just fantastic,” she says. All the runners who took part are already

excited about next year’s race and their amazing achievement has seen more of their fellow classmates looking to take part, too. With lots of hard work and fundraising, they’ll

have a brand new track to prepare on. But before the new sports area is completed,

St Bede’s are finishing off a year of celebrations with a special garden party on Saturday 29th September with all past and present pupils invited to join in the fun. From 12pm to 2pm, there will be a range of

stalls, games and entertainment along with the chance to see the projects the students have been working on. There will also be a museum filled with archive material which will be turned into a virtual online museum after the event.

Head Teacher, Amanda and brother Gavin

Badminton Team

1990 45

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