New £25,000 track at Westcliff Primary Academy gets sports day off to a racing start

Pupils at a Bispham primary school are on track for good health thanks to a generous donation from councillors.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 3:45 pm

Westcliff Primary Academy in Crawford Avenue, Bispham showcased its colourful new racetrack to nursery parents at its sports day today (June 23).

The £25,000 astroturf track was unveiled by Bispham councillors Don Clapham and Paul Wilshaw, who put forward £20,000 of ward grant money to provide pupils with a safe area to run outdoors.

Before the track was installed, Westcliff pupils had to be taken to nearby Montgomery Academy or Stanley Park for their sports days, due to the school's lack of field space.

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Bispham councillors Don Clapham and Paul Wilshaw open Westcliff Primary Academy's new running track, which they donated to the school with £20,000 of ward grant money. Pic: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media

Amanda Stokes, headteacher at the school, said: 'Westcliff is a small school site surrounded by houses, with no field space.

"In the past, Montgomery has kindly allowed Westcliff pupils to use their field for sports day, and more recently older children were bussed to Stanley Park.

"However, this is not feasible for the early years children. Lots of playground equipment and the old wooden outdoor stage were in need of repair, so I came up with the idea of replacing these with an astroturf racetrack, though they were very expensive.

"Then councillor Don Clapham very kindly offered to donate £20,000. In total, the track cost just over £25,000 along with the post protectors. We, and more importantly the pupils, are delighted with the track.

Westcliff Primary Academy in Bispham was able to hold its sports day on site for the first time, thanks to a new racing track donated by Bispham's councillors. Pic: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media

"Now more than ever, physical activity is so important for pupils and the children just love practising races. It was wonderful to invite our nursery parents in this morning to watch our sports day, all in line with current restrictions. It felt almost back to normal.

"We could never have afforded this without the generosity of the Bispham Ward grant, and were pleased that both Don Clapham and Paul Wilshaw were able to officially open the track this morning."

It was hoped the new track would give youngsters somewhere to run freely without the risk of getting into scrapes on the tarmac playground - and would support their mental health through physical activity.

Coun Don Clapham said: "Westcliff is the only school within Bispham ward and we believe that the school, which delivers excellent teaching and learning, should also help to keep our young pupils fit.

Westcliff Primary Academy's colourful new running track. Pic: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media

"This unique track should raise the pupils' health and well-being - after all, they are the future of Blackpool.

"What better way to make a positive difference in Bispham?"

John Topping from the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), which runs the school, added: "The Fylde Coast Academy Trust is extremely grateful to both councillors Clapham and Wilshaw for their ongoing support of our staff and students at Westcliff Primary Academy.

"This astroturf racetrack makes a significant enhancement to the school's existing physical environment and I am sure will be used by our youngsters across all seasons throughout the school year."

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