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Tom Conti joins Hampstead's first walking bus

PUBLISHED: 10:53 16 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:56 07 September 2010

Camden's first walking school bus arrives in Hampstead at Hampstead Parochial School with Tom Conti

Camden's first walking school bus arrives in Hampstead at Hampstead Parochial School with Tom Conti

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Susanna Wilkey THE wheels on the bus stopped going round for Hampstead schoolchildren, when they used their legs to join the borough's first walking school bus. Pupils from Hampstead Parochial School joined the green revolution by ditching their parents

Susanna Wilkey

THE wheels on the bus stopped going round for Hampstead schoolchildren, when they used their legs to join the borough's first walking school bus.

Pupils from Hampstead Parochial School joined the green revolution by ditching their parents' cars and taking to Camden's streets to get to lessons.

They were escorted by none other than renowned actor Tom Conti, who joined Friday's inaugural walking bus to guide the children to school along with a group of trained volunteer parents.

The schoolchildren won't be getting the star treatment every Friday morning, but they will be catching the environmentally-friendly walking school bus every week. It will follow an agreed route from West End Green in West Hampstead to Hampstead Parochial school in Holly Bush Vale.

The walking bus will initially run on Friday mornings but plans are in the pipeline to expand the service to every day of the week and introduce more routes from different locations.

As well as helping children get valuable extra exercise, the walking bus helps improve safety and cut congestion at peak times, especially around school gates.

Headteacher at Hampstead Parochial, Rebecca Harris, said: "Children who get some exercise on the way to school concentrate and learn better, so this is obviously a really positive development for the school."

Chairman of the school governors, Nick Jackson, said: "We are sure that once it's been going a short while, more children and parents will want to be part of this initiative, which fits well with other work we are doing, such as the national healthy schools scheme."

And governor Stephanie Scott-Linden added: "The children are really excited about taking part in the walking bus and I would like to thank Vanessa Fitzpatrick and all the parent volunteers for helping us get the bus in motion."

The bus is supervised and escorted by trained, CRB-checked volunteer parents and is an important part of the school's travel plan.

Camden shools boss Cllr Andrew Mennear said: "I am delighted that Hampstead Parochial School has started the borough's first ever walking bus and congratulate the parents who have spent many hours getting it up and running.

"I am sure that many other parents, including those with children at independent schools, will be watching this development with interest.


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