Jessica puts her best foot forward in award

IT used to be the prized award for the top scorers in football competitions.

But the Golden Boot is set to become a badge of honour for youngsters in eight Doncaster primary schools.

It has been adopted as a prize for youngsters who win walking contests in a bid to get youngsters off the couch and onto their feet.

Owston Park, Thorne Brook, Highfields, Mexborough Windhill, Stainforth Kirton Lane, and Toll Bar Primary Schools, Conisbrough Rowena Nursery and Infant School and Askern Moss Road Infant School, were all given one of the new golden boot trophies.

The aim is that this will be used to run walking contests in schools all year round rewarding classes that notch up the most steps.

Some of the schools will have a ‘footprint trail’ stencilled in the grounds so youngsters can count their paces.

The new trophies were launched this week with a sporty prize for Skellow’s Owston Park Primary School.

Pupil Jessica Riddick earned classmates an Olympic treat after finishing top in a competition run by NHS Doncaster.

More than 100 youngsters aged between five and 11 submitted posters, poems and other pieces of writing illustrating how they think their school could best promote walking to and from lessons.

Jessica, aged 10, of Skellow’s Owston Park Primary School, impressed judges with her colourful poster spelling out exactly why travelling on foot is wonderful.

Jessica and classmates will now be taken on a tour of Olympic training facilities at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium early next year with the chance to try out their own athletics skills.

The competition was organised by NHS Doncaster public health development worker Andrew Picken to help eligible schools that have achieved Healthy School status.

Healthy Schools have met set criteria across four areas - healthy eating, physical activity, emotional health and well-being and personal, social and health education.

The challenge was set to mark International Walk to School Month in October to highlight the numerous benefits of leaving the car behind on the school run.

Andrew said: “The aim was to highlight the advantages of walking and how it can be incorporated into everyday life to help increase physical activity levels.

“Children have a vital part to play in becoming more physically active themselves and relaying the benefits to their family and friends.

“We had a range of brilliant entries that demonstrated that children have awareness of how walking to school helps their health and the environment and that reducing car journeys makes the roads around schools safer.”

It is thought that around half of children in England do not walk to school regularly although the average distance to primary schools is about a mile.