County Meath’s Gilson National School has been presented with a cheque for €5,000 worth of sports equipment from Irish banana distributor Fyffes, following the announcement that the Oldcastle-based primary school has been chosen as ‘Ireland’s Fittest School’.
In addition, the young pupils and their teachers received a visit from well-known Irish Olympians Phil Healy and David Gillick, who delivered a fitness workout at the school, along with giving talks on nutrition and healthy eating.
The award went to Gilson National School in recognition of what adjudicators called ‘a real love for fitness and exercise evident throughout’, following its participation in a six-month competition organised by Fyffes, in which hundreds of primary schools, north and south, took part.
Accepting the prize along with colleagues and pupils, Mark Carey, principal at Gilson National School, thanked Fyffes for “supporting an initiative that proved to be a very positive, rewarding and inclusive experience for the pupils and staff alike.
“The exercise routines provided us with a means to being active and staying fit in an enjoyable way. I would like to thank and congratulate the pupils, staff and parents for their enthusiasm, commitment and support,” Carey added.
According to the fruit firm, a central feature of the competition – now in its second year – to find ‘Ireland’s fittest school’ was a series of exercise routines (devised and recorded online by Healy and Gillick), which competing schools could adopt as part of their PE curriculum and against which performance could be measured.
In part, its purpose was to enhance the momentum built up under the popular four-year-long Fyffes ‘Fit Squad’ programme of live school visits, in which 30,000 students have taken part in face-to-face sessions since its inception.
Commenting, Emma Hunt-Duffy, head of marketing, Fyffes, praised the children, teachers and staff members at Gilson National School for all their efforts and commitment, adding, “What was most encouraging was to see the fun, enjoyment and enthusiasm had by all as they undertook each month’s fitness challenge.”