Published: 12:21, 29 October 2018
| Updated: 12:48, 31 October 2018
Top sporting heroes from across Kent have united to try and inspire children to take part in sport as they remember their first trophies.
Stars including double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes have teamed up with Bearsted-based trophy company Aford Awards and Kent Sports Trust to launch a new video campaign, which aims to encourage young children to get active and follow their dreams of sporting success.
It comes after Public Health England figures recently showed almost a third of children in Kent aged 10 or 11 are overweight or obese.
Dame Kelly Holmes describes winning her first trophies
Schools can individually determine how much time is devoted to PE in the curriculum, but departmental guidance recommends they provide pupils aged four to 16 with at least two hours a week.
In a series of videos, Dame Kelly, from Hildenborough, joins fellow Kent stars Charlotte Evans, Rob Key and Barry Hawkins, in remembering their first trophies won while at school, in a bid to inspire budding athletes.
Dame Kelly said: "I'm proud of every single medal, trophy that I got even right at the start and of course right at the end with my two Olympic golds.
"I'm passionate about seeing more kids in schools have the opportunity to take part in more PE, get outside and enjoy both sport and physical activities. I am who I am because PE brought out my running talent.
"The benefits of being active are huge and I'd love to see more schools in Kent dedicate more time into encouraging the children in their care to be active and prioritising it as part of the social skills and future health.”
Evans, who won Britain's first ever gold medal with Kelly Gallagher at the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, said: “Some schools are really great at [increasing PE hours] and they provide a lot of opportunities and I think a lot of schools don’t and I think they’re probably the schools who need to invest in this more and give more opportunities to kids.
“Sport is a great release of stress and energy and I think if we did have more PE in schools I think it would make a huge difference to kids.”
Jon Ford, managing director at Aford Awards said: “We wanted to run this campaign as we feel it is so important that we get youngsters engaged in sport and activities for their own wellbeing.
“Sport has been so important to me and my family, it has helped me with confidence and also keeps me healthy and I think it’s only right that we should help every young person in society have the opportunity to be able to become engaged in sport.
Charlotte Evans describes winning her first ever trophy
“With rising levels of obesity in the UK it’s vital that children get the opportunity to exercise while at school, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“This campaign may not physically get youngsters off their iPads or off the sofa, but we hope it will help in the process by getting them active in some way."
Steve Wolfe, chief executive of Kent Sports Trust which aims to increase participation across the county, added: “Kids love things that are fun and engaging - make it too competitive or challenging and they will find 101 reasons not to take part.
“We only have to look at the rise of trampoline parks across Kent in the past few years and you will see how making physical activity fun works."
More by this authorTom Pyman