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Pupils win prizes for using brains and brawn

By Liz Nicholls

Youngsters from Kent and Medway triumphed at a double challenge to find the most voracious readers and eco-savvy pupils in the county.

All winners, supporters, and mascot Buster Bug at walk to school and literacy challenge winners presentation at Leeds Castle, Maidstone.
All winners, supporters, and mascot Buster Bug at walk to school and literacy challenge winners presentation at Leeds Castle, Maidstone.

The challenge was organised by the KM Charity Team who run walk to school programmes including Active Wow and Green Footsteps as well as the home reading scheme Buster’s Book Club.

School children in their hundreds persuaded parents to forgo a ride in the family car for more active means of getting to school on the competition date. The number of green journeys for each class was totted up – including those walking, cycling, scooting, or opting to park and stride – to find the winners for each district.

On the same day classes hit the books to rack up the most impressive number of minutes dedicated to reading for the chance to be named their region’s most dedicated bookworms.

Class representatives attended a celebration at Leeds Castle, Maidstone to receive prizes including free entry tickets to the castle or ice skating vouchers for Planet Ice in Gillingham along with framed certificates for their schools to display. The youngsters were cheered on by Buster Bug himself and supporters from Kent County Council, Medway Council, Maidstone Borough Council, Ashford Borough Council, Countrystyle Recycling, Eurostar, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Orbit housing association, and Golding Homes.

Gary Storer from Orbit said: “We are very proud to be supporting Buster’s Book Club as part of our healthy starts campaign. We find that literacy is really the key foundation stone of a child’s development and their future.”

Elodie Thomas de Than of Kingsnorth Primary School agreed. “As a parent and as a parent governor at the school, any initiatives that encourage reading and get kids to read more than the required amount is fantastic – especially anything that gets the boys on board, because as we all know boys tend not to be ardent readers,” she said.

Whitstable author Anthony Cooper, who is working with the KM Charity Team to promote green travel and home reading, provided copies of his book The Curious Tale of the Dodo to give away as bonus prizes.

Caroline McBride from Golding Homes said: “We’re really pleased to get involved in an initiative like this - teaching young children literacy, how to read, as a life skill but also as a pleasure. It’s just such a fantastic and generous thing that this local author has done, donating books to every one of the winning schools today.”

Leanne Adams from Medway Council’s road safety team congratulated the schools for embracing green travel, not only because it reduces traffic congestion but also because: “we want to get kids out there to keep them fit and healthy – and help the environment.”

Julie Banks from Eurostar International added: “We are passionate about anything that is contributing to protecting the environment and obviously it’s teaching children vital road safety skills as well.”

Other organisations backing the KM Charity Team’s work include Bel UK, Kent Libraries, Specsavers, Kent Reliance, Gallagher Aggregates, Volker Highways, London Borough of Bexley, Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity, Whitefriars, Swale Borough Council, and Canterbury City Council.

Simon Dolby of the KM Charity Team said: “These schools deserve a big pat on the back for their efforts in encouraging pupils to be kinder to the environment, take more exercise, and develop a love of reading.”

He added: “Schools can still sign up to Buster’s Book Club this term enabling them to kick start the New Year with our fantastically successful home reading scheme.”

Schools have until December 16 to join Buster’s Book Club for 2018. Contact Charlotte Hayes at chayes@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 0844 264 0291 or visit www.bustersbookclub.co.uk

Find out about green travel for schools at www.kmcharityteam.co.uk/wow

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