The countdown to the largest youth sporting event in the county has officially begun after pupils from across Lancashire celebrated the launch of this year’s SPAR Lancashire School Games at a fun-filled event.
Pupils from across the county gathered at Preston-based James Hall & Company Ltd in preparation for months of sporting competitions alongside the school games mascot, the Lancashire Lion, while pupils were also treated to an inspirational speech from Team GB Nathan Maguire and local professional boxer and Commonwealth Gold medallist Lisa Whiteside.
Organised by Active Lancashire, the SPAR Lancashire School Games comprises a series of inclusive sporting events that provides competitive opportunities for all school children across the county. The annual Disability Swimming Gala will take place on April 2nd at Lancaster’s Salt Ayre Leisure Centre, while the county finals will be held at Blackpool’s Stanley Park on July 2.
More than 3,500 children from schools across Lancashire’s 15 districts will now battle it out for a place at the county finals in 16 sports including Volleyball, climbing, football, athletics, mixed cricket and touch rugby.
To mark the programme launch, Team GB Nathan Maguire gave the audience and inspirational speech about his journey.
Nathan said: “My disability has offered me the most amazing experiences and the chance to compete in incredible places, represent my country and meet a fantastic range of diverse and inspiring people. I had to go outside of school to find the right kind of facilities and developed my love of competitive sport through wheelchair basketball. It is fantastic to see children with disabilities here today being offered the chance to take part in such an exciting and inclusive competition.”
The SPAR Lancashire School Games is the biggest school games programme of its kind and is implemented by the county’s school games organisers. This year will mark the thirteenth year since the first SPAR Lancashire School Games, which is sponsored by James Hall & Company Ltd, the SPAR distributors for the north of England. Over £128m of National Lottery and Government funding has been invested into the school games programme.
Children were also given a unique insight into life at SPAR with an exciting behind-the-scenes tour of the depot offices, warehouse and food production areas.
Peter Dodding, sales and marketing director at James Hall & Company Ltd, said: “We are thrilled to be able to continue our support for the SPAR Lancashire School Games and help promote healthy, active lifestyles throughout the county, alongside our partners Active Lancashire and the fantastic team of Lancashire school games organisers.”
“The event was a huge success in getting schools from across the county together to build momentum for the next few months of fun, competitive sport.”
Adrian Leather, chief executive at Active Lancashire, added: “It is a pleasure to see so many children from across the county involved with the annual SPAR Lancashire School Games. It’s a programme of events I personally look forward to each year and one that’s instrumental in helping achieve our goal of getting people active, keeping people moving and improving people’s lives, while enabling children to have fun in sport.
“Thanks to James Hall & Company Ltd, the Lancashire School Games just keep evolving. This year an additional 1,500 children will participate, with more sports such as Dodgeball, climbing, angling and Volleyball added to the timetable too. The games get bigger and brighter each year and we can’t wait to get started again.”