Harleston pupils are joined by two handball Olympians

Year 10 pupils from Archibishop Sancroft High with Bobby White, captain of the GB handball team, and

Year 10 pupils from Archibishop Sancroft High with Bobby White, captain of the GB handball team, and Mark Hawkins, fellow player in the GB handball team, at the Family Inclusive Sports Area in Harleston. - Credit: Archant

Pupils braved the wind and rain yesterday as they joined two Olympic athletes at an innovative new sports area.

Youngsters from Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston took part in workshops with captain of the GB handball team, Bobby White, and fellow player Mark Hawkins who aimed to demonstrate how to keep fit and have fun.

The event took place at the town's new Family Inclusive Sports Area (FISA), believed to be the first of its kind in the east of England, and which includes Street Snooker and the UK's first 'Crossbar King' game, inspired by Sky's Soccer AM crossbar challenge.

Four workshops have been allocated for the next 12 months by Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, with years two, nine and 10 from Harleston schools among the first on Monday.

Mr White said: 'Mark and I both agree that our best memories were playing unofficial games, when you're playing in the neighbourhood with friends and it all comes from the imagination. It's important for kids to be outside but these days with computer games and other things they might need an extra push to be active.'

Mr Hawkins added that both team members enjoyed training with the youngsters.

'It's not just about playing football – there are all sorts of other games and things like this make it more accessible,' he added. 'I think the Olympics highlighted the diversity of sport and for us it's a good chance to give something back.'

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The FISA was funded using section 106 money, provided by housing developers Persimmon Homes and linked to new housing developments in the area.

It is open to all and free to use, and games can be played using any shaped ball including a football, handball, tennis ball, basketball or even a rugby ball.

Head of PE at Archbishop Sancroft High, Ben Farrow, said the variety of sports was a highlight for the pupils.

'There are quite a lot of towns that don't have the facilities that Harleston has and there's a lot of effort that's been put into this,' he said.

Harleston town clerk Margot Harbour said the response from schools to the FISA had been 'positive'.

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