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Christchurch City Council Media Release 7 November 2001

Sports Stars To Walk Kids To School

Sports Stars and politicians and will escort primary school children to their Christchurch schools on 9 November.

New Zealand’s first National Walk to School Day, this Friday November 9, will take place with the help of famous sports stars and local politicians.

Women cricketers Nicola Payne, Paula Flannery and Erin McDonald; NZ Tall Black John Watson; Paralympian Ben Lucas; and Netballers Belinda Charteris and Lisa Gregory, will each walk to a primary school with a group of children.

Christchurch Mayor, Garry Moore, and the Sport Canterbury CEO, Selwyn Maister, will also walk with groups.

Christchurch city has led the way in New Zealand with the Walk to School Day, which was launched here in 1999. 37 primary schools have registered to take part in Christchurch this year.

Paul Cottam, Christchurch City Council’s Safe Routes to School Co-ordinator, says that National Walk to School Day encourages parents to walk their children to school.

"The day promotes walking as a safe, healthy and sustainable way of getting to school. We want to emphasise the safety, health and environmental benefits of walking," says Mr Cottam.

Mr Cottam said that walking to school in numbers encourages better road safety for children’s journeys to school, and provides a healthy exercise opportunity for children (an estimated 30% of primary school children are considered to be too physically inactive according to the Hillary Commission).

All children at schools who have registered will receive certificates for walking. A prize draw will be held for schools taking part, and there will also be prizes for children’s artwork associated with school journey issues.

The day will also mark the launch of Walking School Buses at Redcliffs School. Under this initiative, parents pick up children from their homes and walk them to and from school each day. Five other Christchurch schools already have walking school buses.

Both National Walk to School Day and Walking School Buses schemes are supported by Christchurch City Council, Crown Public Health, the Hillary Commission and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Further information: Paul Cottam, City Council’s Safe Routes to School Co-ordinator, ph: 941 8299.

Photographic opportunities are:

Mayor Garry Moore, at Our Lady Fatima School, leaving the corner of Westminster Street and Kensington Avenue at 8.30am.

Sport Canterbury CEO Selwyn Maister at Burnside School, leaving Jellie Park (west side) at 8.15am.

NZ women’s cricketer Erin McDonald, leaving Bay View Road at 8.20am with a Redcliffs School ‘Walking School Bus’.

NZ women’s cricketer Nicola Payne, at Addington School, leaving Church Square at 8.10am.

NZ women’s cricketer Paula Flannery at Paparoa Street School, leaving the corner of Rutland Street and Knowles Street at 8.15am.

Paralympian Ben Lucas at Oaklands School, leaving Westlake Park on Westlake Drive at 8.30am.

NZ Tall Black John Watson at Beckenham School, leaving the Mabel Howard Reserve on King Street at 8.15am.

Canterbury netballer Belinda Charteris at Parkview School, leaving the Queenspark Drive/Bower Avenue intersection at 8.30am.

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