A NEW £13,500 running track was unveiled by little children with the help of Cherry Bear yesterday.

Pupils from all years of Stourfield Junior School, on Stourvale Road in Southbourne, got the chance to test out the new grass-topped facility in the playing fields which they can use for The Daily Mile activity.

Laura Rawson, head teacher at the school, said: “We had an amazing morning and the day went without a hitch.

“The children raised £7,700, which paid for a good chunk of the track.

“Each house went out in their colours to parade around the track following Cherry Bear, which was nice to see.”

She said that the children took part in a sports day, which featured an Olympic-style opening ceremony.

The fun activities included a water-based task which helped them to keep cool in the hot summer sunshine.

“The problem with our field is that it gets wet very quickly and can take a day or two to dry out, meaning that the children can’t use it. Now, with the new grass-topped track, the water drains straight through. This means that it’ll be good for events, such as for bonfire night.

“We also opened our pergola yesterday and we had various people from organisations who helped to fund that who came along to see Cherry Bear officially opening it. We had a brilliant day.”

Laura said that while the playing fields look virtually the same, the new grass-topped track means that children can go outdoors to play sport on the designated area all year round.

She added: “We’ve been doing our Daily Mile since January and it means that instead of the children doing eight laps of the playground, they can go round the new track once.

“We have seen a real increase in the children’s fitness since we started doing The Daily Mile and their parents and families have noticed it too, with some of them doing the Parkrun and the Race for Life.

“Our children don’t have an afternoon break and the staff tend to do the run then, which gives the children a 10 or 15-minute break before they come back into class and settle down.”

Laura said that this means the pupils are able to concentrate more easily in their lessons. She added that although the children aim to complete the full mile, but are simply asked to do their best.