Gold medal Olympian Sally Gunnell OBE attended Henfield’s primary school to open its new running track - dubbed ‘St Peter’s Metres’.
The athletics star was welcomed to the school to discuss her incredible career with the staff and pupils and cut the ribbon to open the track.
In order to build the facility, the school was fortunate to be awarded funding by the Diocese of Chichester, from The Healthy Pupils Capital Fund, which is intended to improve children’s and young people’s mental and physical health by increasing the availability and improvement of facilities.
Sally said: “It was a pleasure to open the track and meet the staff and pupils at the school. I hope the track inspires them to achieve their goals and go for gold. Exercise is a vital part of health and wellbeing and it’s great to see the school incorporating physical activity across other school lessons, and encouraging children to take part in sport.”
The all-weather track was officially opened on Monday (January 14), although pupils have been enjoying the track since mid-November when it was completed.
Head teacher Denise Maurice said the children loved going out for a daily run around the 300 m track.
“Running and walking around the track gives the children a brain break, which makes them more alert in the classroom, as well as improving their physical fitness!
“All the children had the opportunity to name the track and the School Council voted on the name they liked the best which was ‘St Peter’s Metres’.”
She added: “On behalf of all who attend St Peter’s, we thank Sally for visiting us; Mr Nick Matthews, our previous Head of School for placing the bid and the Diocese of Chichester in supporting our efforts to maintaining a healthy lifestyle at St Peter’s.”
Year 6 pupil Niamh Williams wrote to Sally to invite her to come for the official opening, and the school was thrilled when she accepted.
Every day, each of the school’s 14 classes will use the track, which has been laid into the school field in an effort to develop the health and well-being of pupils and staff alike. The track will assist cross curricular activities - Science (healthy living), Maths (data handling), and PE (to build confidence and strength and learn more about the way their bodies work).