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Cheshire primary school pupils opt to Smile for a Mile

Keep fit initiative is giving fitting name

Pupils at the launch event of the Daily Mile keep-fit initiative at Upton Heath CE Primary School in March 2016

Primary school pupils who pound the playgrounds of West Cheshire in a bid to walk, jog or run a mile a day have come together to name the local initiative ‘Smile for a Mile.’

Youngsters who have been trailblazing the keep-fit initiative since March 2016 were given the opportunity to suggest their favourite names as part of a naming competition.

Fittingly, Smile for a Mile is an amalgamation of suggestions from not one, but two of the pilot schools – Horn’s Mill Primary School in Helsby and Upton Heath CE Primary School in Chester.

Initially, six schools signed up for the innovative scheme, which is designed to encourage local primary school pupils to be more active and learn healthy habits for life.

Delivered via a partnership of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Active Cheshire, a further 11 primary schools have since signed up.

This means 17 schools, 2,444 pupils and 71 teachers are now signed up to Smile for a Mile.

The One Show presenter Alex Riley with pupils from Horn's Mill Primary School in Helsby as the did the Daily Mile last March

Uniquely, schools participating in the initiative – which was featured on BBC’s The One Show in March 2016 – are tasked with both promoting the scheme to neighbouring schools and providing peer support.

Chief executive of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group Alison Lee said: “Smile for a Mile is a perfect name for a fantastic initiative. Many thanks to all the children who took part in the competition – there were some brilliant suggestions.

The One Show cameras visit Helsby to film children running a mile a day

“The beauty of Smile for a Mile is its simplicity. It’s inclusive of all children, no extra kit is required and evidence suggests that a 15-minute break from the classroom to Smile for a Mile can enhance pupils’ school work as well as their health and fitness.”

Active Cheshire chief executive Anne Boyd said: “Active Cheshire is delighted to see physical activity growing within the school day - it is such an important time for children to have the opportunity to develop active habits for life.

“It’s also great to see the schools taking the lead themselves and doing this purely because of the benefits they see. That is crucial to the sustainability of any initiative - we love their enthusiasm!”

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