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Whiteabbey pupils put in the miles for award

St James’s Primary School in Whiteabbey has been crowned the winning school in Northern Ireland in the recent Big Walk and Wheel competition.

The Big Walk and Wheel is the UK’s biggest inter-school walking, cycling and scooting competition, run by environmental charity Sustrans.

Over a two-week period, pupils walk, cycle or scoot to school daily and compete against other schools to see if they can make the most number of active journeys.

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This year, a record 166 schools took part across the province, and St James’s topped the small primary school category, with 99 per cent of pupils taking part during the week. This also placed them seventh overall in the UK.

St James's Primary School won the Northern Ireland Big Walk and Wheel competition.

Principal, Paula Cunningham said: “We were so pleased to see so many pupils taking part in the competition, almost completely removing cars from our school gate.

“To go on to win the competition is even better, and the pupils are so pleased to see their efforts have resulted in this win. Thanks also go to our very supportive parents for taking part by walking with their children, or dropping off older pupils a short distance from school and allowing them to walk in.”

Beverley Gaston, the Sustrans Active Travel Officer working with the school, added: “I am delighted St James’s has won this competition, as a recognition of all their work over the past few years to make active travel a healthy choice for so many of their pupils.

“So many families now choose to walk, cycle, scoot or wheel to school on a regular basis, not just during competition weeks, increasing physical activity, allowing pupils to become more aware of road safety, and getting them ready to settle and learn in the classroom.”

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