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Olympians Amy Smith and Joe Roebuck visit Suffolk primary schools to promote Sports for Schools initiative

PUBLISHED: 16:09 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:12 22 February 2018

Olympic Swimmer Amy Smith with the Reception class at Hindlesham and Chattisham Primary Schoool. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Olympic Swimmer Amy Smith with the Reception class at Hindlesham and Chattisham Primary Schoool. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Two Olympic swimmers have paid special visits to primary schools in Suffolk to encourage children to get into sport.

The children were invited to ask Ms Smith questions after she gave an assembly. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe children were invited to ask Ms Smith questions after she gave an assembly. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Amy Smith, European gold medallist, and Joe Roebuck, Commonwealth medallist and record holder, led inspiring assemblies at primary schools in Ipswich and Saxmundham as part of the Sports for Schools initiative.

Ms Smith visited Hintlesham & Chattisham and Kersey schools, while Mr Roebuck met the children at Coldfair Green.

Both athletes also joined the pupils for a fun fitness session – completing small circuits of different activities including press ups and star jumps.

Headteacher at Hintlesham & Chattisham and Kersey Primary Schools, Liz Donaldson said: “Amy gave a very positive message about perseverance.

Athlete Joe Roebuck working with children from Coldfair Green Community Primary School as part of the Sports for Schools project. Picture: GREGG BROWNAthlete Joe Roebuck working with children from Coldfair Green Community Primary School as part of the Sports for Schools project. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“She used to be terrified of swimming, but she soon took off and wanted to be faster than everyone else. That feeling of fear stops some children so it was good for them to hear.

“She was very inspiring, really, but quite honest in the fact that it is quite hard work. They all took an awful lot away from it.”

After the assemblies, the children got the opportunity to ask the former European champion questions, including: “What was your favourite activity?” and “If you weren’t a swimmer, what would you be?”.

Mrs Donaldson added that it was good to introduce the children to a wide array of career opportunities.

“Balance is really important,” she said.

“Offering all those different opportunities [in the world of sport] got the children to see what chances there are in life.

“We can’t all be olympians but we can all follow our dreams.”

Clive Butcher, Head of PE at Coldfair Green Primary, said the visit had been a great learning experience for the children, and an exercise in staying positive.

“It’s really important because it gives them aspirations of what they can achieve,” he said.

“Being a rural primary school, you sometimes don’t get these opportunities. It makes a big difference.”

Sports for Schools visits 1,300 primary schools every year across the UK and Ireland, running fitness sessions with the help of some of Britain’s top athletes.

This year, the organisation has teamed up with EADT to promote a campaign to boost funding for physical education in schools.

The drive, which aims to help primary schools in Suffolk unlock thousands of pounds for vital sports equipment, will see schools and communities collect tokens to win a share of a £20,000 sports kit cash pot.

From now until April, special tokens will be printed in every edition of our newspaper – and parents, school staff and the local community can collect and donate them.

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