THE highlight of this year's Borders Champions in School Programme took place in the Volunteer Hall in Galashiels on June 13th when sporting heroes Chris Paterson (rugby), Sarah Adlington (Judo) and Janet Jack (hockey) shared their experiences of this year's initiative with children, parents and the programme organisers at a showcase event.
Facilitated by Borders Sport and Leisure's Active Schools team the Champions in Schools programme was developed by the Winning Scotland Foundation and involves Scottish sporting heroes visiting classrooms to inspire children in goal setting, healthy lifestyles and adopting a winning attitude in life.
This year eleven sports personalities and twelve schools from across the Scottish Borders participated in the scheme, which is aimed at pupils from P6 to S2.
Over 100 people gathered in the Volunteer Hall to hear Chris, Sarah and Janet outline their personal involvement the project and participate in a questions and answers session.
Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive of Borders Sport and Leisure, the social enterprise, not-for-profit company that runs many of the sports and leisure facilities and programmes in the region said: "This is a brilliant initiative that allows young people the chance to learn from world-class professional sports people about life at the top and also to discover the approaches, attitudes and disciplines that the athletes have used to develop their success."
In addition to Chris Paterson, Janet Jack and Sarah Adlington, the other athletes involved with the Champions in School programme were Ruaridh Cunningham (mountain biking), Libby Clegg (athletics), Danny Galbraith (football), Leven Brown (rowing), Chris Ball (downhill mountain biking), Greg Laidlaw (rugby), Ross Ford (rugby) and Euan Dale (swimming).
The twelve Scottish Borders Schools that were visited by a sporting hero as part of the initiative were: Denholm Primary, Burgh Primary (Galashiels), Knowepark Primary (Selkirk), Halyrude Primary (Peebles), Parkside Primary (Jedburgh), Greenlaw Primary, Newton Primary, Eyemouth Primary, Edenside Primary (Kelso), Berwickshire High School, Selkirk High School and Peebles High School.
Mike Gray, Winning Scotland Foundation commented: "The Champions in Schools programme was the brain child of former elite athletes rife shooter Janet Jackson and rugby legend Gregor Townsend. It offers children a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand from leading sportspeople from a range of fields and the feedback we have had from schools in the Borders has been brilliant."