Team GB Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw inspired schoolchildren with her career achievements at the launch of the SPAR Lancashire School Games 2023-24.
Held at James Hall & Co. Ltd’s SPAR Distribution Centre in Preston, 55 schoolchildren from nine of Lancashire’s districts joined together to celebrate the launch with staff from James Hall & Co. Ltd, Active Lancashire, and the School Games Organiser Network.
They were greeted on arrival for photos with SPAR mascot SPARtan before enjoying a tour of the distribution centre, including ambient, fresh, and frozen warehouses, and the food manufacturing areas.
Sandwiched in between was an inspirational presentation from Holly, age 32, from Preston, who became the first ever British athlete to win a Pole Vault Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Holly said: “I was very excited to be asked to come back and speak at the launch the Lancashire School Games.
“I was very sporty at school and took part in the Games myself when I played football, so it was an honour to speak to schoolchildren about my time as a School Games participant and the career I have had as a Team GB athlete.
“I am currently in my winter training programme as I prepare for one last swansong at the Paris Olympics next year, after which I will retire from the sport, and I am looking forward to my final season of competition.”
Christoper Baron, age 9, from Heskin Pemberton CE Primary School, said: “I had fun at the School Games launch. Holly’s talk taught me to keep on trying to achieve what you want, and I think she has shown courage and bravery to succeed after surgeries.
“I also thought the warehouse tour was amazing. I loved seeing the food manufacturing area and learning about the deliveries to SPAR stores in Northern England.”
India Elkington, age 9, from Holy Trinity RC Primary School in Brierfield, said: “It was very interesting to learn how the food is made in a factory, especially all the sandwiches. I liked the big freezer best, but I think it gets colder in Brierfield!
“I loved Holly’s talk, especially learning that she played football when she did the School Games as I really like football. I learned that if you believe in what you can, do you can do it.”
The Lancashire School Games are run by Active Lancashire and the School Games Organiser Network and have been sponsored by SPAR through its association with James Hall & Co. Ltd since 2006.
In 2022-23, the Games engaged 24,000 children in sport and activities across Lancashire through 23 feature events and competitions.
Adrian Leather, Chief Executive at Active Lancashire, said: “It was a pleasure to launch the Lancashire School Games once again at SPAR’s North of England Distribution Centre. It always amazes the schoolchildren who visit, and huge thanks go to James Hall & Co. Ltd for arranging this and for their continued partnership and support of the School Games for another year.
“It was also a huge privilege to welcome Holly along as our guest speaker for an inspirational presentation. I think everybody present in the room left feeling extremely motivated and we wish her well at the Paris Olympics next summer.”
Niels Dekkers, Retail Development Director at James Hall & Co. Ltd, said: “We had a fantastic morning of fun welcoming schoolchildren to our distribution centre. Opening their eyes to the scale of the business is always an honour, and the reactions to our freezer area in particular are always priceless.
“Thanks very much to Active Lancashire and the School Games Organiser Network for arranging Holly to come along and inspire us all. Holly’s career journey is one to be proud of, adding wow factor to the event, and I would like to say good luck to her from everyone at James Hall & Co. Ltd in her preparation for the Paris Olympics.”
For more information about the Lancashire School Games, please visit the website at: www.lancashireschoolgames.co.uk