Pupils from Rotherham were joined today (Tuesday 22 October) by the most successful female British Paralympian of all time for a very special walk to school in celebration of International Walk to School Month.

Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey met Whiston Junior and Infant School pupils, their families and school staff for the walk to school, where she heard first-hand about what they’ve been doing to get more active on the school run.

Around half of the school’s 200 pupils turned out to celebrate the strides they’ve made to improve local air quality, road safety and congestion levels.

Sarah Storey

Pupils at Whiston Junior and Infant School take part in WOW - the year-round walk to school challenge from Living Streets. Pupils who walk to school at least once a week for a month are rewarded with a monthly, collectable badge.

At the start of the school year, 38 per cent of children at Whiston Junior and Infant School were driven all the way to the school gates. After one half term of WOW, that’s already dropped to 25 per cent, significantly less than the national average of 41 per cent.

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. Dame Sarah Storey joined Living Streets’ mascot Strider for a special Q&A assembly where pupils who walked were awarded special 90th anniversary recyclable badges.

Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, Sheffield City Region said:

“Walking to school is a fantastic way for children and their parents to get some exercise, helping boost their mental and physical health.

As part of my work as Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region, I am committed to working with Mayor Dan Jarvis to inspire and enable people in the region to walk more. We want to ensure that our streets are safe for children to walk to school, to give parents the choice of leaving the car at home. It’s brilliant to see WOW working for this school. With International Walk to School Month drawing to a close, I’m sure these pupils will inspire others to follow in their footsteps beyond October.

Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, Sheffield City Region

Dame Sarah Storey was appointed as Active Travel Commissioner for Sheffield City Region in April 2019.

Jenny Wiles, Regional Director for Living Streets was announced last month as part of a team of active travel experts appointed to help Dame Sarah Storey and Mayor Dan Jarvis enable more people to walk, cycle and use public transport in the Sheffield City Region.

Jenny previously acted as advisor to Chris Boardman, MBE in his capacity as Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester.

Jenny Wiles, Regional Director (North), Living Streets said: 

“During October, pupils walking to school are being part of a global movement to clean up our air, improve road safety and get more active by ditching the car for International Walk to School Month. For Whiston Junior and Infant School pupils, it’s a year-round commitment.

“These pupils have been working really hard to collect all their WOW badges this term, with those families that can’t walk the whole way choosing to ‘Park and Stride’. By parking away from the school gates and walking the last part of the journey, they’re still fitting a bit more activity into their day and helping to reduce the toxic air that lingers around the school gates long after the cars have left.

“I’m thrilled that their hard work was rewarded with a limited-edition badge presented by the most successful female British Paralympian of all time!”

walking