Merton children get into Olympic spirit

Mayor of Merton Councillor Oonagh Moulton handed the Big Walk Once a Week (WOW) baton to neighbouring borough Sutton to end its journey through the boroughs school last week.

Throughout October, the baton has been passed from school to school throughout Merton. The Mayor of Merton Councillor Oonagh Moulton passed the baton to Mayor of Sutton Councillor Margaret Court at a special ceremony held at Sutton Arena. This was part of International Walk to School Month, which this year celebrates London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Merton and Sutton chose to focus specifically on the Paralympic games.

A number of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and mainstream schools were invited to take part in a variety of fun activities including football, mini athletics and badminton.

Official torch bearer of the 1948 Olympics (the last to be held in London) John Greatrex, attended the event along with the WoW mascot Strider and official Olympic mascot Mandeville to encourage young people to walk to school.

Thousands of children across the capital have been walking and holding events to celebrate the Big WoW which started in Havering on 1 October. An Olympic baton has been passed from school to school throughout all the London boroughs. The baton contains thousands of pieces of paper on which children have written their own values to coincide with the Olympic values that are: friendship, respect and excellence.

Merton Council cabinet member for community and culture Councillor Martin Whelton said: “Encouraging as many young people as possible to walk to school is important as it is an easy way to include and promote daily exercise, along with keeping fit. The events have also allowed both able bodied children and those with disabilities the opportunity to get involved and celebrate the Olympics and Paralympics coming to London in 2012, along with understanding the Olympic values alongside their own values.”