Baton relay starts across Lancashire schools as countdown to SPAR Lancashire School Games final begins

The countdown to the SPAR Lancashire School Games finals began last week with the celebratory start of a county-wide baton relay.

By Aimee Seddon
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 4:55 am

The 2022 Games are the first to have an Olympic Games style baton relay, and it will visit a total of 57 schools in the 12 West Lancashire districts, including Preston, Chorley and Blackpool.

Beginning on Monday at Bretherton Endowed CE Primary School in Leyland, the baton was first handed over to children at an opening ceremony at Holy Trinity CE Primary School in Tarleton, before going on to participants at Tarleton Academy.

The gold baton will next be passed on to schools in Chorley as it makes its way around the Red Rose County’s 12 districts ahead of the finale in Blackpool’s Stanley Park on Tuesday July 5.

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A baton relay has begun across Lancashire schools in the run up to the SPAR Lancashire School Games final.

The Lancashire School Games 2022 provides young people with the opportunities to have fun and develop skills in a calendar of events across the academic year.

For 15 years SPAR has sponsored the Lancashire School Games, through its Preston-based primary wholesaler for Northern England, James Hall & Co. Ltd, supporting the work of Active Lancashire and the School Games Organiser Network.

Last week’s baton launch event provided the opportunity to reflect on the legacy the Games has had in West Lancashire as inspirational success stories were shared, including that of British pole vault athlete Harry Coppell who competed in the 2012 Games.

Since then, Harry has organised many SPAR Lancashire School Games Events, coached athletics in schools for the West Lancashire Sport Partnership, and won the Men’s British Pole Vault Championships in 2019, 2020 and 2021, setting a new British Record in 2020, which led to his selection for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Harry Coppel, who reached the finals of the Men’s British Pole Vault at the Tokyo Olympics, said: “I want to wish the children competing in the Lancashire School Games this year every success as it is an event that means a lot to me.”

Adrian Leather, Chief Executive of Active Lancashire, said: “We are so proud to have Harry as an inspiration for pupils in West Lancashire, many of whom have been coached by him or have taken part in School Games events organised by him, and it was a pleasure to share his progression with children at the launch.

“The 2022 Lancashire School Games really gives us an opportunity to inspire more children to get active and engage with sport, tapping into the build up to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022, and as we open up and emerge from the pandemic.”

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Niels Dekkers, Retail Development Director at James Hall & Co, added: “It was brilliant as sponsors to be able to support the start of the baton relay in Tarleton, and to see how it energises and enthuses the children participating in the Lancashire School Games.

The baton will visit a total of 57 schools across West Lancashire. Image: John Kay.

“SPAR remains committed to the Lancashire School Games and the work of Active Lancashire and the School Games Organiser Network and we look forward to hearing more legacy stories from around the county as the baton passes its way from district to district.”