PUPILS and parents at a Jarrow school got on their bikes to healthier lives.
St Matthew’s RC Primary School in Alnwick Grove took part in The Big Pedal scheme, aimed at encouraging more young people to cycle to school.
Delivered by national bike charity Sustrans and supported by Bike Hub, the recent national scheme proved highly successful across South Tyneside, with the borough registering about 3,000 journeys above the national average for the initiative.
Locally, The Big Pedal formed part of the Schools Go Smarter South Tyneside campaign, to make the ‘school run’ healthier.
St Matthew’s, which is already a Bike It school supported by Sustrans, saw all its 211 pupils taking part.
Headteacher Martin Humble said: “The Big Pedal was greatly received across the whole school, with every young person taking part in the event at least once during the campaign.
“It was a fun and beneficial way for the children to gain a healthy form of exercise and raise their fitness levels.
“Even a number of parents took to their bicycles to show support. It was fantastic to see the amount of enthusiasm shown, despite the recent bad weather.”
Coun Joan Atkinson, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for children, young people and families, said: “I was very encouraged by the way schools across the borough embraced The Big Pedal campaign, and hopefully this will kick-start young people into finding a healthier method of travelling to and from school.”
Biddick Hall Juniors, in South Shields, won the large primary category for the North East in The Big Pedal for the second successive year, while St Wilfrid’s RC College, also South Shields, was the leading secondary school in Tyne and Wear.
In total, South Tyneside pupils made 15,317 journeys to school by bike and scooter as part of The Big Pedal.
Claire Leman, Sustrains Bike It officer for South Tyneside, said: “At Sustrans, we are delighted with the achievement of schools across the North East.
“I am particularly proud of South Tyneside schools, whose pupils have shown an amazing interest in The Big Pedal campaign, making it such a massive success and doing the region proud on a national scale.”