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Records smashed at Buster's Big Bash family festival staged at Dane John Gardens, Canterbury

By Liz Nicholls

Families came out in their hundreds to set a new record on Saturday (May 6) for the biggest walking bus to march down a Kent street.

Martin Vye of the KM Charity Team starts the Walking Bus record attempt at Buster's Big Bash in Dane John Gardens, Canterbury.

The event, staged by children’s education charity the KM Charity Team with support from IMP, was part of the free mini festival Buster’s Big Bash. More than 300 people took part in the event which is staged each year to celebrate the success of the charity’s green travel and literacy services for schools in the South East.

A singing column of 328 children, parents and guardians waved homemade walk to school flags and banners as they paraded through Canterbury city centre before heading to Dane John Gardens for games, activities, and competitions.

The Lord Mayor of Canterbury Cllr George Metcalfe welcomed the crowds and judged the Best Teddy competition. Peyton, seven, from Barming Primary School, Maidstone, Mylo, eight, from St Stephen’s Junior school, Canterbury, and Aaron, six, of West Minster Primary School, Sheerness were the winners and received prizes from Fenwick.

The Worshipful Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr George Metcalfe tries out the space hopper challenge at Buster's Big Bash 2017.

Poppy Trice, 10, of Beaver Green Primary School, Ashford won the lucky programme competition and collected her prize of tickets to Bruges Christmas markets donated by Theatre Trips Kent.

Smiggle Canterbury provided stationery packs for the best walk to school flags and banners. The winners included Leybourne SS Peter and Paul CE Primary, West Malling, West Minster Primary, Sheerness, Joy Lane Primary, Whitstable, and Canterbury’s Adisham CEP School and Bridge and Patrixbourne Primary.

Youngsters enthusiastically tackled space hopper racing, Silver Blades’ ice hockey challenge, Atlantis Go-Karts, circus skills, and Canterbury Eagles’ beat-the-goalie. Celebrities were out in force with children having the chance to meet Harrison Lillis of the Invicta Dynamos ice hockey team, Peter Pan and Rapunzel from Princess World, and of course Buster Bug himself.

Daisie Finch aged 2 1/2 of Ashford Oaks, Ashford takes on the Canterbury Eagles' Beat-the-goalie contest at Buster's Big Bash in Dane John Gardens, Canterbury.

The fire engine provided by Kent Fire and Rescue was a popular destination for wannabe fire fighters, while green fingered little ones happily planted seeds at the paper potters stand. Reading Fairy brought stories to life and Kinetic Circus wowed the audience with a showstopping performance.

Children collected goody bags of treats from Whitefriars, YMS Group and Fenwick, as well as fruit bags and drinks supplied by McDonald’s.

Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, said: “We are delighted that Buster’s Big Bash is such a hit with families with record breaking numbers taking part in our walking bus challenge. There were big smiles all round and we would like to thank all our key partners involved with the event for helping us to make this possible for the children.”

The team’s green travel and literacy projects are supported by Kent County Council, Maidstone Borough Council, Medway Council, Bexley Council, Three R’s teacher recruitment, Specsavers, Eurostar, Bel UK, Volker Highways, Countrystyle Recycling, Golding Vision, Kent Libraries, Kent Reliance, Orbit South, Gallaghers Aggregates and Whitefriars.

Schools will receive a 20% discount on green travel initiatives Active Wow or Active Bug for the next academic year if they join before the deadline of July 1. Both schemes aim to promote a healthier lifestyle, reduce traffic congestion, and improve safety at the school gate. Visit www.kmwalktoschool.co.uk, or click HERE.

For details of the successful reading scheme Buster’s Book Club, visit www.bustersbookclub.co.uk

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