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Sally Gunnell Visit

The Sussex resident was welcomed to our school to cut the ribbon and to run a lap with some of our children to help kick-start our challenge – to collectively cover the equivalent 874-mile distance between Land’s End and John O’Groats within five school days.

Sally said: "It was a pleasure to open the track and to meet some of the staff and pupils at the school.

"It’s great to hear about their challenge and I wish them the best of luck with it in the coming days.

"I hope the track continues to inspire them to be active everyday as exercise is so important for physical and mental health."

The two-metre-wide running track is 320m long. To complete the challenge, our 397 students will be working together to complete at least 4,370 laps within the school week.

Made from artificial grass surfacing, the double-lane all-weather track has proved incredibly popular with our pupils since its completion in mid-November.

The school has raised money for the facility with the help of the community, including contributions from Steyning Athletics Club, Friends of Steyning Primary School, Wilson Memorial Trust, Umbra Performance, West Grinstead and District Ploughing & Agricultural Society, WSCC Community Interest Fund, Steyning Football Club, and The George Mill Trust.

Individual fundraising efforts included a 107km trek around the perimeter of the Isle of Wight and participation in the ‘Race to the Kings’, a whopping 53.6 mile walk along the South Downs Way. There were also many donations made by parents and small businesses within the Steyning community.

Headteacher Sue Harrison said: "We’re very grateful to Sally for visiting the school to help officially launch the running track. We are also very thankful to everyone who helped raise money for the running track as without the many contributions, we wouldn’t have been able to install it.

"The children are really enjoying using it and it’s proving a brilliant way to keep them active, regardless of the weather. We’ve been encouraging the children to get used to doing a mile a day, whether walking, jogging, or running."

PE teacher Simon Knowles added: "Sport and exercise is a really important part of life at Steyning Primary School.

"We are proud of our sporting endeavours and the way we encourage the children of all abilities to try different sports, including athletics.

"We know that exercise is a great way for children to burn off energy and we’re already seeing the benefits in terms of increased concentration and focus in class."