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Blackpool pupils celebrate Walk to School Week with Elmer

Children across the UK are discovering the joys of walking with Elmer the Patchwork Elephant this Walk to School Week (20-24 May 2024). 

Walk to School Week is organised by UK charity Living Streets, as part of their National Walking Month campaign each May. 

Families are encouraged to walk, wheel, cycle, scoot or ‘Park and Stride’ for the whole week to see the big differences that come from small steps, from healthier and happier children to fewer cars outside the school gates. 

This year, facilitated by Louis Kennedy, the agency behind Partnerships with Purpose, the charity has partnered with Andersen Press, publisher of the Elmer books by David McKee, to launch a limited-edition version of Elmer’s Walk available exclusively in One Stop stores around the country, with proceeds going to help Living Streets’ work for safer streets for people of all ages.

Pupils from Boundary Primary School in Blackpool are stood on a zebra crossing with Elmer the Patchwork elephant

Boundary Primary School takes part in Living Streets’ walk to school programme, thanks to funding from Blackpool Council. Before starting on the programme, 39 per cent of their primary school aged pupils were driven to school. This has reduced to 7 per cent, significantly lower than the national average of 41 per cent.  Pupils from the school also designed one of the Young Elmer sculptures on Elmer’s Big Art Parade Blackpool.

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant visited the school with Living Streets’ mascot, Strider, to celebrate Walk to School Week on 20 May.  

Paul Black, PR and Brand Director, Andersen Press said:

“We are delighted to be working with Living Streets to help children start their school life off on the right foot. We hope this special version of Elmer’s Walk will inspire families across the country to walk more, enjoying the chance to get fresh air and meet new friends just like Elmer does on his walk, whilst raising lots of funds for the charity.”
New research commissioned by Living Streets has found that over a third of parents (37%) of pre-school children say they don’t have enough time to go for a daily walk.  

Better mental health and wellbeing (46%) and quality time with family (17%) were given as reasons they go for a walk. 

Katherine Holcroft leads on Living Streets’ walk to school programme, she said: 

“Life with young children is hectic and finding time to exercise is difficult. Walking to school is an easy way for us to fit more activity into our daily lives. Walk to School Week is the perfect opportunity to swap sitting in traffic for creating lifelong happy memories of the walk to school.”

Pupils from Boundary Primary School outside a One Stop store in Blackpool

Elmer's Walk is now available in One Stop stores across the country

Jack Taylor, Community & Partnerships Manager, One Stop said: 

“We're proud to be supporting Living Streets' Walk to School Week campaign - and with every penny from the sale of Elmer's Walk book going to the charity, we hope to see more communities walking to school and learning about the benefits of doing so!"

Tracey Richardson, Director of Licensing and Partnerships, Louis Kennedy said: 

“We have worked for many years with Living Streets on their successful walk to school initiative. Teaming them up with Andersen Press for Elmer’s 35th anniversary – and One Stop stores, which sit at the heart of communities – is the perfect partnership.”

Earlier this year, the charity also launched special Little Feet and Elmer activity packs, which include a set of colourful resources for children aged two to five to be used in nurseries and pre-schools to introduce the benefits of walking to young children. 

About the author

Kathryn Shaw

Head of Communications and Marketing, Living Streets / [email protected]