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Bobsleigh champ Gillian Cooke wraps up National School Sport Week

WINTER OLYMPICS star Gillian Cooke ensured the curtain came down on Bank of Scotland’s National School Sport Week in style in Aberdeen on Friday.

Current World bobsleigh champion Cooke was on hand to witness over 150 Aberdeen youngsters enjoy a mini-Olympics complete with opening and closing ceremonies hosted by St Machar Academy.

The week-long event has seen over 700 schools across the country involved with Friday’s seeing predominantly primary seven pupils taking part in activities ranging from sprint relays to tug of war.

And Cooke – who has also competed in the Commonwealth Games in the long jump – admitted she had been left impressed with the action-packed day.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Cooke – also the current Scottish indoor long jump record holder.  “The kids have really had a great doing all the different events and I was really impressed.”

The health benefits and enjoyment of sport in general were the theme of day five of the week-long event with Bank of Scotland research highlighting that “keeping fit and healthy” (68 percent) and “finding a sport I like” (60 percent) some of the chief reasons for children to be involved in sport.

And sportscotland partnership manager for the Grampian Region Robbie Stewart believed events at St Machar Academy epitomised the goals for the week as a whole.

“We have been delighted to be involved in Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week as we think it is a really great initiative,” said Stewart. 

“And today was fantastic with the kids trying sports that hopefully they have enjoyed and might continue to play because what is important is that children are enthused by sport.”

Active Schools Manager for Aberdeen City Jo Conlon helped oversee the event on the day and believed the day couldn’t have gone any better.

“It has gone well and the sun was shining which was great,” said Conlon. 

As with the four previous days Bank of Scotland employees turned out in force to put their weight behind the day, and Susan Rice – managing director of Lloyds Banking Group Scotland was delighted to be a part of it.

She said: “Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week has been a great success and we have had the chance to reach out to people around Scotland.

“And I hope some children have been inspired.”

And Bruce Grant, Bank of Scotland branch manager for Deeside said: “It’s been an excellent day.  The kids all had good fun and with there being so many things to take kids away from sport these days, like TV’s and computers, it’s great to have at events like this.”

Aberdeen City Council’s local councillor spokesman for sport Martin Greig took a day out of the office to lend his support and was only too happy to be trackside.

He said: “I am extremely impressed by the marvellous commitment that’s been made by Bank of Scotland and sportscotland and it was clear today that the young kids were enjoying the experience.”

As with the events throughout the week and across the country school pupils themselves have been encouraged to take the lead and help out and organise events for their peers.

And so who better to have the final word on the week than 15-year-old young leader, Esther Dickson: “I think NSSW is really important, it makes people try new sports and get involved a bit more, even if it is just for a week.

“It can start habits that last a lifetime. I am quite a keen rock climber and I first started that at school.

So hopefully some of the younger children can find a sport they like to and carry it on.

“I was lucky enough to be chosen ahead of quite a few other people from Aberdeen and it has been great to help out.”

Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week takes place from 7-11 June 2010.  To find out more visit



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