A TEAM GB athlete visited Vigo Primary School.

Vigo Primary School in Andover received a visit from Team GB gymnast Kelly Simm.

Kelly spent the morning leading the students from the school in various physical exercises, including star jumps and push-ups; all students from every year group took part.

After each child had taken part in the exercises, Kelly then presented an assembly for students in years 3-6; she took the opportunity to perform some flips, rolls and cartwheels for the audience, as well as presenting a video detailing and explaining the different gymnastic events that she performs in.

She also showed the children a video of her completing a full competition routine on the uneven bars apparatus.

Kelly followed up these videos by taking questions from the students, who asked her a variety of questions, including “What is your favourite gymnastics discipline and why?”, “How much training do you have to go through?”, and “Was there a particular person who inspired you?”; Kelly answered all these questions with a smile on her face.

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The visit was organised in part by Sports for Schools, a social enterprise which aims to bring professional athletes into primary schools to encourage students to be more active.

Kelly said that she enjoys working with Sports for Schools, saying: “It’s a really great opportunity for me as an athlete to give back and come into schools, and see where everyone begins, and everyone is so young so it’s a really great time to encourage them to get involved with sports.

“I think when they actually see an athlete there, it makes them realise it is more possible instead of just seeing them on the TV, there is a real life athlete there, so it’s nice to come in and see them all happy and enthusiastic and try and inspire them to take part in sport whether it’s gymnastics or whether it is any sport; trying to get them to keep active and get involved.”

Nerys Pearce, a “sportivator” from Sports for Schools, who helped Kelly run the session, said that the kids “did brilliantly”, adding “we’ve had a fantastic time at the school today.”

“All of the 600 students here did four exercises; they started off with ‘spotty dogs’ to get their coordination going, then some ‘mountain climbers’ to work the whole body, press ups to make sure the arms are nice and strong, and star jumps to really pump their bodies.”

Sports for Schools visits do not cost participating schools anything and are instead designed to help schools raise money to support greater physical activity and wellbeing for children; however, the events do run on a sponsorship initiative, with Sports for Schools taking a percentage of the money raised to help cover operating costs and pay participating athletes.

The rest of the money raised will go to the school and will allow it to buy new sports equipment or set up a programme to improve physical activity and wellbeing.

Nerys explained the sponsorship: “The kids raise money, through family and friends, and a lot of the money comes back to the school, so that they can buy new sports equipment or equipment for their education or their learning.”

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There are also prizes for the students who raise money; any student at Vigo Primary School who raised £5 would receive blue wristband with the words “GB Athlete Event” on it, while anyone who raised £15 would receive a red wrist band signed by Kelly Simm alongside their blue wrist band.

Any child that managed to raise £30 would receive both wristbands and a signed poster of Kelly.

Geraint Cooper, a PE coordinator and teacher at Vigo Primary School who helped to organise the visit, called it “a great opportunity”.

“It’s not every day that you meet a Commonwealth athlete!

“It’s nice that the kids have had such a great time and met a famous athlete.”

Vigo Primary School is located in Andover; it teaches students aged between 5-11.

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