Gilson National School, in Oldcastle, Co Meath has been chosen ‘Ireland’s Fittest School 2023’.
The award went to the primary school in recognition of what adjudicators called ‘a real love for fitness and exercise evident throughout the school’, following its participation in a six-month competition in which schools from all over Ireland, north and south, took part.
Supported by Irish fruit importer and tracked online Fyffes, the purpose of the competition, now in its second year, was to promote the importance of exercise, fitness and healthy eating amongst young people.
Expressing delight that his school was chosen ‘Ireland’s Fittest’, Mark Carey, principal at Gilson National School, said, “The initiative has been 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."
Launched last Autumn, the competition coincided with the resumption, following Covid, of the popular Fyffes Fit Squad children’s fitness programme of live school visits, in which 30,000 students have taken part in face-to-face sessions since its inception.
Fronted by well-known Irish Olympians, athletes Phil Healy and David Gillick, a central feature of Ireland’s Fittest School competition was a series of exercise routines which competing schools could adopt as part of their PE curriculum and against which performance could be measured.
The award to the Oldcastle school will comprise some €5,000 worth of sports equipment plus a special visit from athletes Healy and Gillick before the school finishes up for summer break.
Emma Hunt-Duffy, head of marketing, Fyffes praised the enthusiasm of all the schools that competed throughout the country,
She added, “It was great to see so many teachers and young pupils include the exercises into their PE classes as a means to keep fit, but more so, we really enjoyed seeing them having so much fun doing it."