PUPILS at a Westhoughton primary school had a sports day to remember after being put under starters’ orders by an athletics legend.
Steve Cram was the guest of honour at The Gates’ Primary School’s sports day — and it seemed like more parents than usual had booked a half day off work to be at the event.
He spent a day at the school, speaking to children from five cluster schools, in his role as ambassador for Yorkshire Bank.
The athlete showed youngsters his Olympic medals and the Olympic torch he carried during 2012.
The star was invited by school governor Garry Birchall, who is the business development manager at Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Manchester.
Steve is regarded as one of the finest middle distance runners of all time, setting world records throughout the 1980s and winning a 1500m silver medal, at the 1984 Olympics.
His winning 800m time at the 1986 Commonwealth Games still stands as a games record.
He gave a pre-games motivational talk to inspire the children and develop a love of sport among them.
Steve said: “It was at school, at sports days like this, where it started for me.
“It is about teachers and parents and the Olympics to reinvigorate a love of sport — and it is at schools where it starts.
“I know some people disagree with sports days because some people lose and some win, but that is a part of life.”
He added: “The Olympics were held during a time of cutbacks and volunteers have been capitalising on the legacy and there are pockets of good work going on, but resources and facilities are needed at schools where it starts.
"There needs to be opportunities available for children to take part in a range of sports.
“Life is about setting challenges, competition and not always winning but about keeping going, all this is recognised in sport.”
Kathryn Coiffait, headteacher, said: “Steve took time to speak to pupils and shared some of his top tips ahead of the races and I think his pre-games motivation really helped to fire everyone up ahead of the competition.
“He inspired teachers and children. He showed children his medals and passed around the Olympic torch leaving the children awe-inspired.”
Harvey Laycock, aged 10, said: “I know he is a legend and his talk was really inspirational.”
Haddlie Russell, aged 10, said: “It was amazing to meet somebody famous and have them open the sports day. I like football and discovered it at school.
“The sports facilities are good but we could do with better nets and an all weather pitch.”
The games were made up of running, hurdles, as well as old favourites such as the sack race and egg and spoon race.
Shardonie Brindle, aged nine, with Steve Cram