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Energetic youngsters have been taught the benefits of walking and cycling to school as part of a campaign to encourage exercise and reduce car reliance.

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Marathon man Lloyd Scott, of Rainham, dropped by St Ursula’s Junior School in Straight Road, Harold Hill, to talk to children in a special assembly during Sustainable Travel Week.

The prolific fundraiser has been running marathons for 25 years, raising more than £5m, and is famous for donning unorthodox outfits whilst doing so.

He spoke about the benefits of exercise: “The message for the pupils at St Ursula’s was that if you have a positive attitude you can achieve your goals and that there are many different ways you can travel to reach those goals.”

During the week, the pupils took part in a range of activities.

Year 5 and 6 pupils learnt to cycle safely and a theatre group did a performance about the dangers of cycling and walking whilst wearing ear phones.

Headteacher Clare D’Netto said: “We have also been encouraging parents to park their car away from the school gates and walk those extra few metres.”

Cllr Barry Tebbutt, cabinet member for the environment, said: “Walking or cycling to school helps keep fit while reducing congestion and vehicle emissions which affect us all.”

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