Balloon release a spectacular sight

Date: Friday 29th June 2012

THE children and staff at North Lakes School, Penrith, had a very full timetable last Wednesday, but nobody was complaining! As part of the celebrations surrounding the Olympic torch passing through the town, the children had a day full of exciting activities, workshops and challenges.

Parents were invited to call at the school during the day to watch their children take part in a sponsored fun run, and running alongside this were workshops for art, music and dance.

The dance activities gave everyone in school the opportunity to take part in an energetic cheerleading session, with the Olympic theme echoed in the physical routines and pompons of the dancers. Local musician Jilly Jarman, from Bluejam, provided an outdoor Samba workshop at which each child enjoyed beating out rhythms on various percussion instruments which had been made earlier in the day in the art workshop. The children had brought junk material into school to use in making a variety of shakers and percussion instruments. Imagination ran riot as the children produced some colourful and noisy items.

Face painting was provided during the day, helping the children to get in the festive mood. The ICT suite was open all day so that pupils could check out the Olympic torch relay website and increase their already considerable knowledge of the event.

After all this hard work, everyone had built up an appetite, so trays of hot-dogs and drinks were much appreciated. Refreshments over, the children and parents turned their attention to the helium-filled balloons which were to be released at the end of the school day.

With help from local business Occasions, each child had written their favourite Olympic or Paralympic value on a tag and attached this to their balloon to be shared with anyone who found the balloon after it had been released. The children chose from seven values friendship, respect, equality, courage, excellence, determination and inspiration. The children were excited, hoping their balloon would be the one to travel the furthest.

Headteacher Mike Pincombe gathered the whole school and all the staff and parents on the playing field for the spectacular release of the balloons. The 160 balloons filled the sky with the colours of the Olympic rings, blue, yellow, black, green and red a spectacular sight.

School was over, the children had been fed and the balloons released but there was still more to come. The children, staff and parents, armed with their home-made flags, banners and percussion instruments, gathered together to form a “crocodile” outside the school. The procession created a stir as, surrounded by music and singing, everyone wound their way down through the Wetheriggs estate to greet the Olympic torch.

The award-winning North Lakes School choir then assembled in Devonshire Street, ready to sing as the torch bearers arrived in town. As the choir sang out, shortly to be followed by the arrival of the torch, it was a moving moment marking the end of a busy, but perfect, day.