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BMX world champion puts pupils on right track

By Harriet Evans | Sandwell | News | Published:

Pupils from Smethwick were joined by BMX world champion and Cycling and Walking Ambassador for the West Midlands, Shanaze Reade, to celebrate the strides they've made to get more active on the school run.

Shanaze Reade joins St Philip's School Catholic Primary School pupils and Strider, Living Streets mascot to celebrates the strides they’ve taken to get more active on the school run

Shanaze met pupils from St Philip's Catholic Primary School to hear first-hand about how they've been helping to improve local air quality, road safety and congestion levels by getting active on the school run.

Pupils at St Philip's Catholic Primary School take part in WOW - the year-round walk to school challenge from Living Streets - and those who walk to school at least once a week for a month are rewarded with monthly, recyclable badges.

At the start of the school year, 45 per cent of children at St Philip's Catholic Primary School were driven all the way to the school gates and after just one term of WOW, that has dropped to 37 per cent.

She said:"As part of my work as a champion for cycling and walking, I'm committed to inspiring people of all age and abilities to move more.

"Walking to school is an easy way for families to fit more activity into their day whilst also helping to reduce the toxic air that surrounds many of our region's schools.

"It's brilliant to see the impact WOW is having for this school. I hope it inspires others to walk and cycle more in 2020."

Shanaze, who has won world titles for both BMX and track cycling, was appointed as the first-ever Cycling and Walking Ambassador for the West Midlands in March 2019.

Shanaze is working with Transport for West Midlands on schemes to encourage more active travel, including the development of safe cycle routes across the region and plans for a walking friendly zone at a development in Birmingham.

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Julia Crear, regional director of Living Streets said: "For anyone starting the new year with resolutions to reduce their carbon footprint or to be a bit healthier – walking is a fantastic place to start.

"These pupils worked really hard to collect all their WOW badges last term, so I'm thrilled their hard work has been rewarded with Shanaze's visit. I'm sure meeting a world champion is going to renew their energy and enthusiasm ready for the new term!"

Anthony Wilkes, deputy headteacher, St Philip's Catholic Primary School said: "At St Philip's we are proud of the initiatives that we have introduced to encourage a healthy lifestyle for our children and families.

WOW really appealed to us as not only does it educate our children on the importance of daily physical activity, but it also directly supports the local area by reducing our carbon footprint."

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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