Havering pupils launch walk to school month

It may have been a walk in the park, but it was no easy task for the 300 Havering pupils who launched a month-long project to get kids active.

Students from 52 Havering schools took part in the Big Wow at Westlands Playing Fields and Pavilion, in London Road, Romford, which encourages children from across London to ditch their lifts in favour of walking to and from school.

The youngsters were joined by Havering’s Mayor, Cllr Melvin Wallace, and three famous former Havering pupils: charity fundraiser Lloyd Scott MBE; athlete Victoria Ohuruogu; and former Olympian Mark Hunter MBE, who won Gold at Beijing for rowing.

Mark said: “Walking to school is both great exercise and great fun. It gives you time to talk with family and friends, makes you more aware and gets you out in the fresh air. It was also really nice for me to get the chance to meet and talk to so many pupils. It was great to see the huge enthusiasm for the London 2012 Olympics and I hope I can play my part in a really successful games for GB.”

Pupils took part in dancing and sports activities and an Olympic-themed quiz, at the launch last Wednesday (October 5)

Havering has been the lead borough in the promotion of walk to school month since 2007.

In 2010 the other 32 boroughs joined in the celebration and the Big Wow torch relay was born - which sees a beacon pass between children in every London borough.

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With the Games now less than a year away, two original Olympic torches from London 1948 and Melbourne 1956 were shown to youngsters.

There was extra reason to celebrate this year after a study involving 73 Havering schools showed that since the last Wow event there has been a 14 per cent reduction in school-run cars - well above the London average and second highest of all London boroughs.

Havering Council Leader, Cllr Michael White, said: “Walking, jogging or finding sustainable transport is not only good for the environment but also helps with fitness and promotes a healthy lifestyle. It is very important that adults set a good example on using transport for children to follow.”

The event is supported by Transport for London (TfL), Metropolitan Police, Road Safety organisations and local businesses.

Sainbury’s supermarket provided nutritious snacks for the children.