Despite forecasts of heavy rain, the sun shone on children from across Surrey and Sussex as they competed in one duathlon and two triathlons at Copthorne Prep School over the weekend. In fact, the action started on Thursday with an appetiser in the form of a duathlon, consisting of a run and a scooter for the 2-4 year olds, followed by a mini-triathlon (stabilisers allowed!) for the Year 1s and 2s. The main course on Sunday for over 200 children from 20 different schools was a triathlon consisting of a pool swim followed by an off-road bike ride and finished off with a run which took the children through the woods and then out onto the main fields in front of a noisy crowd of Mums, Dads and friends. The finish line featured black-belt demonstrations from the local karate club, various stalls including the local bike shop and an 11 year old selling hair bands. This was, however, a triathlon with a difference. The whole event was focused on raising money for Help for Heroes at a time when the Invictus Games has reminded us all of just what important work the charity does for our wounded service men and women. The school received a visit on the day from the H4H Hero bear (see photo) who certainly attracted a great deal of attention.
New Deputy Head, Hugh Serjeant, was determined to ensure that the children understood why the school was supporting Help for Heroes so inthe run up to race day, the children were inspired to fill up their sponsorship forms by stories of war veterans such as Andy Grant, Royal Marine Commando (“The war may be over, but my leg won’t grow back”) and Micky Yule of The Royal Engineers and double gold medal winning power lifter for Team GB in the Invictus Games. The children have so far raised nearly £10,000 and money is still flowing in. The school is in the process of fixing a date for one of the charity’s Young Ambassadors to come to Copthorne to talk to the children about the important work done by Help for Heroes. “I used to think H4H saved my life …. but now I know they gave me the tools to save myself.”
Mr Serjeant stressed that the organisation of the day had been a team effort and that everyone involved was delighted with the atmosphere on the day and the enthusiasm and commitment of all the children that took part. “The great thing about this sort of event is that everyone finishes the day with a huge sense of achievement irrespective of time or placing. It really is about taking part and teaching the children that there is always someone less fortunate than themselves. The only question now is when we hold the next one!”