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Winners of the KM Charity Team’s Walk to School and Buster’s Book Club summer double challenge rewarded at Leeds Castle, Maidstone

By Liz Nicholls

Youngsters stepping out for school or stepping up with their reading have received a royal welcome at a prize giving ceremony for the winners of a double summer challenge.

Walk to school and Buster's Book Club winners and supporters at Leeds Castle, Maidstone.

Walk to school and Buster's Book Club winners and supporters at Leeds Castle, Maidstone.

Schools taking part in the KM Walk to School campaign and Buster’s Book Club, both run by the KM Charity Team, joined in a county wide competition to rack up bumper green travel journeys and reading minutes on the contest date of May 24.

Winners from each district gathered at Leeds Castle, Maidstone to receive class prizes of framed certificates and child entry tickets to the castle valid for a year. The children were applauded by organisations supporting eco-friendly travel and literacy including Medway Council, Kent Reliance, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Orbit, and Volker Highways.

Walk to school mascot Wowzer made a special appearance at the event to congratulate the region’s top green travellers.

Craig Atkins from Orbit said: “We’re here to celebrate the walk to school campaign, looking at encouraging young people - the next generation - to be healthy, take cars off the road and basically enjoy themselves while keeping fit.”

One young winner, pupil Michael Ogunkeyede, 11, collected the Medway district walk to school prize on behalf of St Paul class from St Michael’s RC Primary School, Chatham. He said: “I think walking to school is important because it reduces pollution and it gets people fit.”

The county’s reading champs were praised by Leah Macdonald from Three R’s Teacher Recruitment for their success with Buster’s Book Club. “There’s nothing more important than encouraging children to develop their literacy skills,” she added.

Josh Garner, 10, from Maple class at West Borough Primary School, received the Maidstone district award for the Buster’s Book Club reading challenge. He said he enjoyed the scheme because it “encourages you to read more and you encourage others to read as well.”

Fellow pupil Ellie Tabrett, 10, added: “I like Buster’s Book Club because you can find out more words and what they mean and you can use them in your writing.”

Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, said: “These classes are deserving winners and along with their prizes will gain many additional benefits. Walking to school is a simple way to encourage regular exercise giving pupils extra energy and fresh minds eager to learn. Meanwhile, making home reading a habit will support all the fantastic literacy work going on in schools.”

The KM Charity Team’s work is supported by Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Bel UK, Kent Libraries, Specsavers, Kent Reliance, Eurostar, Gallagher Aggregates, Kent County Council, London Borough of Bexley, Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity, Whitefriars, Maidstone Borough Council, Ashford Borough Council, Swale Borough Council and Canterbury City Council.

Schools can sign up for the KM Charity Team’s green travel services Active Wow or Green Footsteps by contacting Sarah Clyne at sclyne@thekmgroup.co.uk or visiting www.kmwalktoschool.co.uk or by clicking this link HERE. Find out about the charity’s home reading scheme at www.bustersbookclub.co.uk or contact Charli Elvy at celvy@thekmgroup.co.uk.

Leeds Castle Summer Challenge 2017 champs included walk to school winners Berners class from Furley Park Primary School, Ashford; Anthony Browne class from Joydens Wood Junior School, Dartford; Class 4AW from Wrotham Road Primary School, Gravesend; Russett class from Laddingford St Mary’s CEP School, Maidstone; St Paul class from St Michael’s RC Primary School, Chatham; India class from Dame Janet Primary Academy, Ramsgate; and reading challenge winners St Anne class from St Mary’s CP School, Whitstable; Athena class from Dartford Primary Academy; Class Two from Preston Primary School, Dover; 10 Monkeys class from Shears Green Infant School, Northfleet; Maple class from West Borough Primary School, Maidstone; and Badgers class from St Nicholas CE Primary School, New Romney.

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