Celebrities back our campaign

14th May 2004 at 01:00
Stars from sport, music and TV endorse healthier lifestyles for children. Stephen Lucas reports

Hurdles champion Colin Jackson and Rachel Stevens, the former S-Club star turned solo artist, are among a host of celebrities now backing The TES Get Active campaign.

Mr Jackson, the world record holder at the 110-metre hurdles, said:

"Anything that gets people fit is a grand thing. I know it is a cliche but healthy body, healthy mind."

The 37-year-old who went to Llanedeyrn high, Cardiff, could not get enough of sports when he was at school.

"I did everything except swim and ski," he said. "I would advise children to do a sport they enjoy because there are thousands out there. I was into athletics, which was a sport for all shapes and sizes. That is why I liked it. Nobody was excluded."

Ms Stevens is also keen to see pupils adopting a more active life-style.

"Sport brings people together. It's really rewarding," she said.

"When I was at school I liked rounders, netball and sports day. Now I go on the running machine. I had my moments at school though. I used to be quite cheeky and was told not to wear jewellery and chew gum in class."

She is backing Sport Relief, an off-shoot of Comic Relief, which will see people donning their trainers on July 10 to run a mile to raise money to tackle poverty worldwide.

A Sport Relief pack has been sent to every school. Get Active thinking cards, designed to get schools thinking about exercise and healthy eating, are also available in TES Teacher magazine.

Nick Knowles, BBC's DIY SOS presenter, said: "I think the Get Active campaign is a fantastic idea. When I was a kid in Southall I used to hurtle round the green. I went past Wandsworth Common last summer and there were only two kids out there. I blame the rise and rise of computer games."

Sport transformed life for Duncan Goodhew, the swimming star who went to Windlesham house school, Sussex, and Millfield school in Somerset.

"At the age of 10 I lost all my hair, so I looked rather odd. I was dyslexic too, and there was a four-year gap academically between me and my peers," he said.

"Swimming gave me a voice in my life. When I was eight I was asked to show the class how to do breast stroke at the end of the PE lesson. That was a very good day."

Kwame Kwei-Armah, the 37-year-old Casualty star, did not enjoy sport at school but set his sights on developing a six-pack when he hit the age of 21.

He went to Barbara Speate school in Acton, London and said: "I was not into sport at all, but you couldn't bunk off, it was too strict.

"When I got to 21 though I started to get a pot belly, and on a skinny guy that is not good, so I decided to go for a six pack. I went on this huge keep-fit campaign and went to the gym to increase my stamina.

"When I was 27 I got a bad chest infection and my doctor said the only reason I survived was because my heart was really strong. That taught me the importance of exercise."

To make a donation to Sport Relief call 08457 910910The Get Active campaign forum: www.tes.co.ukgetactiveforum

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