Downham Market primary schools get into Olympic spirit ahead of London Games

Pupils and staff at two primary schools staged their own version of an Olympic Games opening ceremony to get them excited ahead of the London Games this summer.

Members of the Clackclose and Wimbotsham school running clubs kicked off the event by running a mile and a half between the two schools, near Downham Market, in a relay carrying hand-made Olympic torches with adults and police escorting them.

The torchbearers were cheered on by fellow pupils who lined the route and were dressed in the colours of the flags their classes had adopted as their country as part of their Olympic Games studies this term.

Pupils, staff and parents then enjoyed an opening ceremony on Wimbotsham school's playing field with all the children parading their colourful attire and were entertained by the Clackclose dance troop before welcoming the runners into the main arena and singing the national anthem.

The headteacher of both schools, Louise Ward, then made the opening ceremony speech in English and French, as is the Olympic tradition.

She later said: 'All the Olympic values were displayed in the co-operation, respect and hard work shown by everyone involved.

'The day was perfect and one I will always remember. In nearly 30 years of teaching, I can't think of an event I've enjoyed more and I'm sure the children have been motivated by the event.

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'Our school motto is Loving Learning and this was a great example of the inspirational and out-of-the-ordinary activities organised by the wonderful staff here.'

Frances Rayner, village games sports coordinator for Downham, helped the school to set up last Thursday's event.

She also organised the Active Norfolk Friendship Flames which were carried by the children from Clackclose and Wimbotsham schools.

'The event's aim was to not only bring the Olympic games to life for them but to really inspire them in believing that anything is possible,' she said.

'Clackclose and Wimbotsham schools are working really hard to give their children experiences that they will remember not only as part of their education but as part of their life experience.

'This truly was a memorable occasion for those watching as well as those 14 children who took part.'

Her son Benjamin, who ran the very last leg of the torch relay, said: 'It was amazing seeing all my school friends on the side of the road and hearing all the cars beeping.'

The year 6 pupil added: 'It really did feel like the real thing and I know I will remember it forever.'

Look out for the next edition of London Calling, a free monthly guide to the Games, which will appear in the EDP on Wednesday, June 27.

To see previous Olympic-related stories click on the London Calling logo on the top of this page

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