Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week success continues as Perth and East Lothian celebrate
A COMBINATION of the Olympic flame - and Bank of Scotland's National School Sport Week - saw the Perth community come together en masse as London 2012 fever hit the town on Tuesday.
UP IN ARMS: Bank of Scotland Local Hero and cyclist Kevin Stewart carried the Olympic Torch on Tuesday afternoon
After nearly 500 pupils from Perth and Kinross enjoyed a variety of sports activities as part of Bank of Scotland's celebration of school sport, the arrival of the Olympic Torch brought the wow factor to Perth.
A further 2,500 school pupils arrived in North Inch Park to welcome the Torch to Scotland as it makes its way around the British Isles ahead of the London 2012 Games, which begin next month.
Cycling Olympic hopeful and Bank of Scotland Local Hero Kevin Stewart took centre stage by ending his leg with the Torch in the park and he admitted it had been a memorable moment.
"That was absolutely unbelievable," said Stewart. "Words can't describe how I'm feeling right now. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I loved it."
Fellow Local Heroes Halina Rees, Calum Magowan and Hannah Ferguson were on hand to give some tips to the youngsters, while the local council and pipe band ensured it was far from just a sport-led celebration.
In total, nine schools enjoyed a taster session of Olympic sports ahead of the Torch's arrival into Perth and Head of School and Community Sport for sportscotland Jacqueline Lynn added: "It's been a great day, and it's really inspirational and motivational for the kids.
"Bank of Scotland National School Sports Week goes from strength to strength, which is fantastic, and we hope the week continues to go well."
And event organiser Tammy McKinlay, Active Schools Manager for Perth and Kinross Council, insisted the secret behind the event's success was that sense of community.
"It's been a great day, and it is great for so many kids and schools to come together and try new sports as well as seeing the Olympic Torch," she said.
Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week, run in partnership with sportscotland, is a week-long event that will involve more than 1,950 schools and over half a million pupils from every local authority area in Scotland.
And with those figures representing over 75 per-cent of all schools in Scotland and over a third increase on 2011, the three-year-old event only looks set to continue its growth.
Rain clouds hovering above North Inch Park vanished once the Olympic Torch arrived on site and Lady Susan Rice, managing director of Lloyds Banking Group Scotland, said: "It seems like every school in Scotland had come out to watch and it was fantastic to see everyone there and National School Sport Week growing again in 2012."
And Morgan Oates, 12, - a pupil at Perth's St John's Academy was left delighted with the chance to sample some new sports.
"It was really good and really exciting to see the torch and to get to try the hurdles," said the Strathearn Harrier.
"I do a lot of athletics and sprinting and things but I had never tried the hurdles which was great."
Elsewhere, over 1,000 primary school children took part in a festival of sport on Tuesday to celebrate Bank of Scotland's National School Sport Week in East Lothian.
Children from more than 30 different primary schools in the area converged on Meadowmill Sports Centre for a day of activities that ranged from rugby through to tennis all the way to golf.
Also in attendance was Scottish Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison who branded the day an overriding success.
"This is a really exciting time for Scottish sport," she said. "With the Olympic Torch up here at the moment and the Commonwealth Games coming in two years time, now is the best opportunity to start inspiring children through sport."
Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week took place from 11-15 June 2012 and is Scotland's biggest school sport event with over 1,800 schools and half a million pupils taking part, staging their own Games. Find out more at www.schoolsportweekscotland.org
© Sportsbeat 2012