‘Order! Order!’ – Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle champions Marathon Kids event in Chorley
November 4th – Just hours before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that the UK would be effectively entering a second national lockdown this week, the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle was at Astley Park in Chorley to cheer on more than 50 children who took park in a Marathon Kids event.
Speaking against a background of torrential rain and strong winds, Mr Hoyle highlighted the incredible efforts of Chorley race director Neil Simpson and Roz Hargreaves, and their team of volunteers who have delivered an astonishing success story since children first came to the starting line in September.
‘Marathon Kids is great, a superb idea to bring young people together, getting them involved, getting them fit, but it’s also about our needs at the moment. Health and well-being is a major problem. It’s about the commitment of Neil and everyone else, recognising Marathon Kids now as it continues to expand and continues to grow, more and more people involved, it’s that challenge, it’s bringing us together, holding us together, giving us a purpose. It’s about a community spirit, and whatever people might say, as bad as the pandemic is, the one thing it’s given us is a community spirit that I believe we’d lost. That community spirit is back, we’ve got to keep it, we’ve got to get beyond this and make sure we can have some normality in the future,’ he said.
Marathon Kids in Chorley has grown rapidly since it began, with children of a variety of ages coming together to warm up with some engaging games this weekend led by Programme Manager Christopher McShane, before being set off in waves around a 250m course, lapping up distances and having a great time in doing so.
‘It was fantastic to see Sir Lindsay here, supporting Marathon Kids and this brilliant event in his constituency. He spoke with such passion and energy, and it gave the children a cracking send off before they started their exercise,’ said Mr McShane, a former primary school teacher.
‘Last Saturday’s Marathon Kids events were the last we’ll be able to do until the second lockdown ends on December 2nd, which is incredibly disappointing because we are determined to help the physical and mental health of children across the country. Thankfully, Marathon Kids in schools can still continue, and we’d urge parents and children to ask teachers to sign up their school to our programmes. This is a critical time for our young people, and we must keep children active,’ he added.
Children who took part in the event in Chorley were treated to a sausage and chips post-run lunch, courtesy of local business ‘Oh My Cod’ who had also been one of the first organisations in the region to supply free school meal replacements during the half-term break following Marcus Rashford’s plea to the government.
‘I can’t thank them (Oh My Cod) enough because they’re providing and playing a part in their local community as well, giving their time, giving their food to feed the kids. Marcus Rashford is right, we have to make sure kids don’t go without food, it’s so important to us, but we’re very lucky that our community pulls together well,’ said Mr Hoyle.
Marathon Kids may be postponed in the parks for now, but Mr Hoyle was adamant of the importance of the initiative.
‘This is about the people and the community coming together and I think that’s important. It’s not just about young people exercising and people getting involved, it’s about team spirit because it is a big team effort but it’s also about a community pulling together in these sad times.
‘It (exercise for mental health) is very important. The fact is we need young people to exercise, but it’s also about the mental health and wellbeing – a lack of exercise has an impact and I’m very worried about people in lockdown not exercising, obesity and the impact all of that has on mental health as well. That isolation is dangerous not only from an obesity point of view but also from a mental health and wellbeing perspective,’
INFORMATION: Marathon kids is fighting a battle to keep children active, now more than ever. We would urge anyone with an interest in the programme in schools to email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.marathonkids.co.uk for more details.