Monday, 25 June 2018

Exercise-mad girls enjoy VIP day at regatta

TWO girls from Sacred Heart Primary School in Henley met Olympic legends Sir Steve Redgrave

TWO girls from Sacred Heart Primary School in Henley met Olympic legends Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent when they visited the royal regatta.

Lizzie-May Ryan, nine, and Florence French, seven, spent a day watching the racing after coming top in their school’s Road to Rio sports competition.

Pupils and parents were encouraged to arrive early on three days a week and run laps of the playground.

Over the course of a month, they beat their target of running 6,000 miles, the distance between London and Rio.

Lizzie-May managed 263 laps, about 16.1 miles, while Florence notched up 253 laps, about 15.5 miles.



The girls arrived at the regatta at 9am on Thursday last week with headteacher Gez Davis and parent Sarah Tong and watched a number of races from the regatta enclosure. They then rode with Sir Matthew in the umpire’s launch behind a heat of the Diamond Challenge Sculls in which Belgium’s Hannes Obreno beat fellow countryman Jean-Benoit Valschaerts by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

When the girls disembarked they met Sir Steve, who is chairman of the regatta, and both men posed for photos with them.

Mr Davis said: “It was absolutely incredible. Sir Steve and Sir Matthew are legends and I’m still personally reeling from meeting them.

“They were so unbelievably friendly and welcoming. It was inspiring for the girls to meet them.”

The Road to Rio competition was launched at the end of May by Olympic rower Polly Swann. The school will continue encouraging pupils to come in early and run a kilometre.



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