Thursday, 16 May 2013

Crowds flock to Red Hall open days as new meerkat mascot is launched

Caption: Leeds Children’s Mayor Oliver Larkin with fellow pupils from Bardsey Primary School and the new Tropical World meerkat mascot

Visitors flocked to the free open days at Red Hall Nursery in Leeds over the weekend with one attraction in particular being the focus of attention.

The open days which ran from Friday to Sunday showcasing the range of services carried out by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service attracted more than 3,000 people of all ages.

The open days also featured the first public appearance by the new official mascot of Tropical World – a giant meerkat. The new mascot, in honour of the most famous residents of the popular Roundhay Park visitor attraction, is now the subject of a competition open to all primary schools in Leeds to give him or her a name.

Suggestions for the name, which can be male or female, can be given one each per class by emailing before the deadline of Monday 1 July.

The winning school will be the first to be visited by the meerkat to meet the class who provided the chosen name.

Among those to meet the mascot was Leeds Children’s Mayor Oliver Larkin, who was joined by fellow pupils from Bardsey Primary School in attending the open days.

Aside from meeting the new mascot, they got to see birds of prey, reptiles, tractors as well as a range of masterclasses and demonstrations plus taking on football and golf challenges.

Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:

“It was fantastic to see so many people attending the open days at Red Hall and especially the range of ages of people keen to find out more about the services our parks and countryside officers provide.

“The new meerkat mascot was especially popular with the families and younger visitors, so now it would be great to have every primary school in the city get involved in the competition to find a perfect name.”

For more information about Red Hall Nursery call 0113 237 5210.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office.
Tel 0113 247 5472

Leeds pupils put best foot forward for Walk to School Week

Over 26,000 children and young people across Leeds are leaving the car or bus behind and striding out to walk to school next week.

Their efforts will be part of national Walk to School Week 2013 (20 to 24 May), which is an annual campaign run by the charity Living Streets. This year’s theme is all about teaching the five benefits of walking: safety; health; discovery; eco-friendly; and social time.

Across Leeds, children from 75 primary schools and six secondary schools are getting out and about to discover for themselves the benefits of walking. Schools have organised lots of fun events including; treasure hunts, poster competitions, whole school walks, lunch time walks, sponsored walks, class room lessons, road safety pedestrian training, quizzes, walking competitions, prize draws and virtual races.

All staff and pupils at Allerton Bywater primary school will be taking part in a whole school walk at 1pm on Monday. Also on Monday Rawdon St Peter’s primary school is holding a fun event to promote road safety and celebrate walking to school.

Coaches and athletes from the National Centre for Race Walking at Leeds Metropolitan University will be attending a special event at Cobden Primary school to promote a 1km Race Walking Challenge and reward pupils for walking to school. A school assembly will be provided by the race walking team followed by a demonstration of race walking by the athletes and coaches. The children will also be taking part in some races and will race walk 1km round a marked course as part of the challenge.

Media Opportunity
When: Friday 24 May 2013 between 9 and 11am.
Where: Cobden Primary School, Cobden Road , LS12 5LA
Members of the media are invited to join pupils and staff from Cobden primary school as they try out race walking with coaches and athletes.
Andi Drake, National Coach Mentor and athletes from National Centre for Race Walking will be available for interviews.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member with responsibility for development and the economy said:
“It’s great to see so many Leeds schools promoting walking to school. Encouraging children to walk to school helps them keep healthy as well as helping to improve congestion outside our school gates.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services, said:
“Walking to school regularly is not only a fantastic way to encourage an active lifestyle, it is also a great opportunity to teach children vital road safety skills and ensure they are alert and ready to learn at the start of the day.”

Leeds City Council is supporting Walk to School Week by providing stickers and resource packs to participating schools.

Notes to editors
Walk to School Week takes place as part of National Walking Month, an annual campaign run by Living Streets which promotes walking for all. The month also includes Walk to Work Week (20-24 May) which aims to get staff travelling actively to, from and at work. Find out more at

Living Streets, the national charity that stands up for pedestrians, has run the Walk to School campaign since 1995. It now reaches more than 1.9 million children each year. The Walk to School campaign’s aim is simple: to encourage all parents, children and young people to make walking to school part of their daily routine. Our vision is that every child who can walk to school does so.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713