Bouquet of the week;Jo McCulloch

18th June 1999 at 01:00
Schools are full of enthusiasts whose passion for life rubs off on the people they meet. Jo McCulloch is a school secretary and her love of cycling is well known to the children of Llwynu Junior School in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. Jo helps run their cycling club and has just ridden the length of Britain raising money for the school.

"It is something we've always wanted to do," says Jo, who spent a fortnight cycling 70 miles a day with her husband Richard. They raised pound;2,500 through an ingenious method of sponsorship, which involved buying 250 postcards in Land's End and posting them in John O'Groats to pound;10-a-head sponsors. A competition to guess where the first puncture would happen (day ten on the road to Kilmarnock) is expected to bring the grand total to around pound;2,800.

Nominating her for Bouquet of the Week, headteacher Charlie Baggott says Jo is a first-class administrator, hugely conscientious and big-hearted.

The children of Llwynu Junior followed the McCulloch's route with a map, logging the distances travelled daily. "Jo phoned through most days," explains Charlie, "and we all learned more about the geography of Britain."

The husband-and-wife team started training six months ago, clocking up 100 miles a week on their touring bikes to the bemusement of their two children, aged 12 and 15. "They weren't very impressed by the idea, but now we've done it I think they're pleased," says Jo.

She says the experience was "absolutely incredible - the scenery, the people we met, the friends who helped us, just wonderful."

In her job she sees at close hand how tight the school budget is and what the children have to go without. "Basically, there's never enough money to finance everything." Staff at Llwynu Junior are currently drawing up a wish-list of things to buy, including science equipment, maths resources and musical instruments.

This week we also celebrate the achievements of six young writers - all winners in the second TES Write Away awards. There are 20 national winners receiving prizes today at The Globe Theatre in London. Every winner's school receives funding for a writer-in-residence, so the effects of individual success can be felt more widely.

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