Children at a Northumberland primary school walked over 1,000km in 40 days to raise money for charity. Pupils aged three to 11 at St Aidan’s in Ashington took part in The Big Lent Walk to fundraise for CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development), racking up the kilometres both in and outside of school hours.

All children from Nursery to Year 6 took part with their classes in school,” said Headteacher Michael Moran. “They did distances during the school day with their teachers, and we worked out that five laps of our school yard is 1km. Quite a few also registered outside of school and clocked up distances on their own at the park run or when walking the dog with their families.

As the challenge drew to a close in the run up to Easter Sunday, the school was ranked 13th out of over 500 participants in terms of distance covered.

The competitiveness between different classes and children was brilliant,” continued Mr Moran. “They were constantly trying to outdo each other. The children loved it, and competing as a class really made it special for them – they made sure their teachers stuck to it if they could see another class getting in some extra kilometres!

St Aidan’s, a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, additionally set up an out-of-school group to encourage families to get active.

Mr Moran explained: “We also ran a parent-and-child running and walking club called the St Aidan’s Bounders. We invited people to run or walk after school in Newbiggin nearby, where we covered between three and five kilometres on the seafront. It was nice to do something as a community, and we had grandparents who were happy to walk along the promenade, and children in Year 5 or 6 who could cover 5km in just under half an hour. Everyone waited for each other though, and there was a really nice atmosphere. Lots of school staff came too and some even brought their dogs along. It was really popular, and parents and children enjoyed it so much that it is going to continue.

Although the final funds have yet to be tallied up, the school raised almost £250 in online donations alone.

Added Mr Moran: “Charity is such an important part of our ethos, but to be able to support CAFOD – such an important cause in Catholic education – made it so special. To go up against over 500 other schools or organisations and to be in with a chance of finishing in the top 20 is a massive achievement. It’s brilliant to show the children how our little school up in Northumberland can make such an impact on a wider scale. I’m very proud of them all.

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