The first school I visited was Holy Rosary Primary where I was greeted by two happy pupils who then introduced me to the Principal. Shortly after this, I had the opportunity to speak to the school pupils and staff during their morning assembly about the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, both from a dietary, and exercise point of view. Afterwards the children asked me lots of interesting questions and I had a chance to see their fantastic classroom displays.
The sun was out and so it was off to the sports field for some races! I lined up against some of the older pupils for the 'egg and spoon' race and afterwards was given my sack for the 'sack race'.
It had been such a long time since I had taken part in any of these types of races, and I was surprised at how much fun it was. I was laughing so much that I could hardly get going! It was lots and lots of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
After the racing, I went off to see some of the nursery school pupils who were riding their bikes, some of which were quite fast! The pupils and I had a few photographs taken and after some interviews, it was time to get ready to visit Glenwood Primary.
Glenwood Primary was only a short drive away and when I arrived, I was greeted by two more smiling faces! Glenwood primary is quite a large primary school with about twice as many pupils as Holy Rosary and there were many more wonderful classroom displays for me to see.
I spoke to the children and staff about the importance of eating healthily and exercising regularly and had the opportunity to answer the children’s questions regarding my sport and lifestyle. We had some class photos taken with the different displays included and I got to show the pupils my Olympic Silver Medal, just like at the previous school.
I was extremely impressed at the amount of work the children from both schools had carried out in relation to the Activ8 campaign and my school visits. It really was captivating for me to see just how much effort the children had put into their projects and how they and the staff had made me feel so welcome.
All of the work carried out by the children I managed to see was incredibly well done. I got to sign one of the many fabulous displays carried out by a little girl called Olivia. I was even presented with two little clay models of me and my racing bike!
The children were telling me how they were looking forward to their summer holidays and so I hope they can get lots of the physical benefits from having the time to be active and I’d like to wish them all well for the future.
With just over 3 years to go it is great that there are initiatives like Sport Northern Ireland's Activ8 programme which are making children aware of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sport Northern Ireland's Activ8 campaign is an excellent initiative that will encourage children to learn about the benefits of taking part in physical exercise and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
I was involved during its launch in April and I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to see the campaign in action. It has been very encouraging for me to see that what I've achieved in my sport can inspire others and how it can have an impact on helping children become aware of and experience the benefits that the Activ8 campaign has to offer.
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting both schools and would just like to say congratulations to both schools on their winning Activ8 displays and thanks to both schools for all their efforts in making my visits so memorable.