Olympian treat for West View pupils enjoying 60th birthday

COLOURFUL children celebrated their school’s landmark 60th birthday with the help of a former Olympic athlete.

West View Primary School, in Davison Drive, Hartlepool, hosted the Brazilian-themed Carnival Day to tie in with the lessons that pupils have been having about the history of the World Cup host country.

West View Primary School pupils celebrated the school's 60th anniversary with former Olympic gymnast Craig Heap.

West View Primary School pupils celebrated the school's 60th anniversary with former Olympic gymnast Craig Heap.

Special guest for the morning was Olympic gymnast Craig Heap, the retired Commonwealth Games Gold medal winning gymnast who has represented England more than 100 times in various international competitions, including at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

The Olympian gave an inspirational speech to children in a morning assembly before they had chance to enjoy a host of activities.

The children dressed up in bright colours, yellow and green in the main to tie in with the schools ‘Mardi Gras’ parade which involved samba drumming.

Children also took part in Olympic gymnastic warm-up activities, watched the finals of the school’s Futbal de Salo tournament, had a go at the hardest shot football competition and took part in the Rainforest Fun Run.

FUN: Alicia Weegram, Harry Oliver and Jacob Gordon with Olympian Craig Heap.

FUN: Alicia Weegram, Harry Oliver and Jacob Gordon with Olympian Craig Heap.

Heap had a hugely successful gymnastic career and his career highlights included becoming the first person to captain England to team gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, a feat which he repeated in 2002, and achieving a personal best performance in the All Round Final at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games - his “proudest moment”.

The Olympian, who bought his medals along to show the pupils, told the Mail: “I try to focus on encouraging young people to achieve their dreams and aspirations in life and to tell them that they can achieve anything if they put their minds to it.

“It is something I am passionate about and it was great to be invited to West View Primary School.

“The children at the school have been fantastic and I have been really impressed with their spirit.

FUN: Harry Oliver, Alicia Weegram, and Jacob Gordon with Olympian Craig Heap.

FUN: Harry Oliver, Alicia Weegram, and Jacob Gordon with Olympian Craig Heap.

“It was a great day and I hope they enjoyed their celebrations.”

Andy Brown, headteacher of West View Primary School, said: “All of the school pupils have been studying Brazil and the other countries involved in the tournament.

“We, therefore, decided to link the school’s 60th Brazilian culture.

“Craig delivered an inspirational speech to the children on the morning before they all had chance to join in the activities on the school field and playground.

FUN: Maddison Rennie and Ben Kime, both 8, enjoying the fun at West View Primary School, Hartlepool.

FUN: Maddison Rennie and Ben Kime, both 8, enjoying the fun at West View Primary School, Hartlepool.

“It was a wonderful day.

“The children have also worked extremely hard this year and this was a reward for all their efforts.”

Pupils Ben Kime, 8, and Maddison Rennie, also 8, were among the children joining in the fun.

Ben said: “We all had a great time, it was a really good day.”

Maddison added: “I enjoyed taking part in the Rainforest Fun Run, that was good.”

On July 15, 1954, West View Infants School, as it was called then, was opened by Councillor J R Coxon. In 1981 it amalgamated with West View Junior School to form West View Primary School.

The school is designated as a National Support School by the Government which results in the headteacher and other senior staff supporting other schools.

If anyone has old photographs of the school, Mr Brown would like them to get in touch by calling (01429) 267466 or email jsmyth@wvps.hartlepool.sch.uk