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Watch as hundreds of Sunderland children enjoy return of Skipping Festival at the Beacon of Light

Over 1,000 Sunderland children have been taking part in a skipping school which culminated in a showcase festival at the Beacon of Light.

By Neil Fatkin
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 3:37 pm

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Over the last six months, Year 4 children at 25 schools across Sunderland have been receiving specialist coaching from Skipping School, an independent coaching provider, with around 700 selected children taking part in two days of skipping fun and competitions at the annual event.

Pupils took part in a range of skills based competitions as well as general skipping fitness sessions. Wednesday June 15 saw children from Biddick, Hylton Castle, Shiney Row and Marlborough Primary schools along with Oxclose Primary and Plains Farm academies donning their plimsolls and picking up the skipping ropes which had been provided for free.

Year 4 Hylton Castle Primary School pupil, Jessica King, nine, said: “I enjoy skipping because it’s really fun and it keeps me fit, which is really important so you don’t become poorly. You can skip anywhere and I now have my own skipping rope and I can skip on my own.”

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Fellow pupil Connor Smith, nine, said: “I like skipping as it helps to keep me fit as well as helping with other sports such as football, basketball and running.”

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It’s was the twelfth skipping event in Sunderland following two years of cancellations due to Covid restrictions.

Skipping School founder, Chris Corcoran, said: “Since the pandemic, I’ve seen a dip in children’s fitness levels. Not only is skipping a great cardio workout, whatever your age, but it’s also fun and promotes resilience. Most children love skipping most of the time. I know because I’ve seen it firsthand.

Around 700 children have taken part in a skipping festival at the Beacon of Light.

"Skipping promotes things like balance and coordination, but most importantly it’s great to see children smiling and having fun while taking part.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Hylton Castle Primary School Sports Coach, Stephen Wilcox.

He said: “Skipping really promotes stamina and it’s great to see the determination of the children. Thirty seconds of skipping really gets your heart rate up and what’s special is seeing whole classes taking part at the same time.

"Unlike some sports, equipment is minimal and so it’s a really easy and accessible activity for children to take part in. After the pandemic, when many children spent a lot of time indoors, it’s really important to get their fitness levels back up.”

Children enjoying the Skipping Festival at the Beacon of Light.

Biddick Primary School Year 4 teacher Victoria Towler added: “We’ve had coaches visit the school and the children have absolutely loved the skipping and really enjoyed today’s event.

"I now see a lot of children using their skipping ropes at break times.”

The event was staged run in partnership with SAFC’s official charity the Foundation of Light. Managing Director, Jamie Wright, believes it’s vital to broaden the activities children take part in.

The Skipping Festival returned to the Beacon of Light after a two year absence due to Covid.

He said: “We obviously have a big emphasis on football but it’s important to provide opportunities to take part in other sports and activities such as skipping. It’s all part of an active lifestyle. You don’t need expensive equipment – all you need is a rope.”