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Article date - 02 July 2018
The event at the redeveloped Ruskin Drive sports complex was a culmination of a year-long programme of school sport competitions, from reception age to Year 11, which has seen close to 100 events delivered with over 7,000 pupils participating.
The weekend event began on Friday 29 June – coinciding with National School Sport Week – with the inaugural Year 6 Celebration Sports Festival.
Activities took place on the site’s new and improved 3G floodlit artificial rugby and football pitches, cricket and rounders field, bowling green, and all weather tennis courts.
On Friday, Year 6 pupils competed in five sports with every result counting towards their school’s overall position. Personal challenge was also a key aspect of the day where pupils took part in a number of challenges to set and beat their own high scores.
The event was delivered by the School Games team as part of the wider St Helens Sports Festival organised by St Helens Council’s Sports Development team.
The day began with a mass warm-up session in excess of 500 young people, before the games kicked off. Certificates and trophies were awarded to all and the champions.
Sports included girls’ football, tag rugby, Boccia, Futsal and cricket, with sports leaders from a number of local high schools supporting the event.
Then on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 June, the excitement ramped up as the annual sports festival got underway. Last year over 7,000 spectators turned out to see the drama unfold.
Councillor Anthony Burns, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Based and Focused Services, including leisure, said prior to the event:
"With our biggest ever sports festival, we’re bringing together hundreds of young people from across the borough, with a host of activities to take part in and the opportunity to represent their school.
"For some pupils, this may be the first time that they have represented their school and could be the spark that ignites their interest in leading a healthy and active lifestyle. It’s a huge confidence booster too.
"With this being National School Sport Week, it’s a perfect time to demonstrate the importance of physical activity in our young people’s lives which, when delivered in the right way, holds the potential to improve physical, social and emotional wellbeing among children and support them to achieve more both in and outside the classroom."
Ruskin Drive reopened last year after an ambitious redevelopment project totalling £3.6 million – over half of which was provided by non-council sources including Sport England, the Football Foundation, Lawn Tennis Association, the Rugby Football League and Pilkington Recs ARLFC, who received compensation when their City Road home was developed for housing.