First class support at Chariots of Fire will grow charity’s education scheme

Local charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CambridgePPF) has been quick off the mark and assembled two official teams to compete in this year’s Chariots of Fire.

Including a celebrity runner! Rory McGrath, star of the BBC series Three Men in a Boat, has agreed to run for the not-for-profit organisation for the second time – helping to raise its profile as one of the beneficiaries of the 2012 event. 

Rory and his running mates from the charity’s staff and board of trustees recently met for a mini training session at Queen’s Green where Carolin Göhler, CEO, explained how money from the race will help CambridgePPF expand its award-winning environmental education programme.

 “Being selected as a recipient charity for Chariots of Fire in 2012 is extremely special. Every year it’s a great event to be involved in. This September we are hoping for a really good turn out with people inspired to take part after watching the Olympics. We’re also really pleased that Rory is running with us again – he’s a real asset to the team and we are grateful for his support.” 

“When it comes to investing the money we’ll receive as a result of Chariots, there are obviously lots of things we could do. Maintaining special places for public amenity such as Wandlebury Country Park is expensive. For a while we’ve wanted to increase the reach of our environmental education programme – an initiative with direct benefits for people of all ages across the Cambridge community. Chariots will enable us to do this.” CambridgePPF’s sites are the perfect place for learning, offering a diverse range of habitats that can be explored throughout the year from grassland meadows and deciduous woodland to ponds and traditional orchards. 

In 2011, thousands of school children and countless families and healthy walkers enjoyed fun-filled, educational activities up at the Gog Magog Hills under guidance from the charity’s enthusiastic, experienced team of field teachers and rangers. Children from Duxford Primary School recently experienced the programme first hand. During May more than ninety children aged four to seven visited the site to learn about living and growing in the local area. Suzanne Blackburne-Maze, Key Stage 1 Coordinator at Duxford Primary School, said: “Although our village is only ten minutes away from Wandlebury, many of our children have never visited the park – so this was a great adventure. The field teachers from CambridgePPF were brilliant. They took us on nature walks andhelped the children pond dip and sweep the meadows for bugs – traditional outdoor activities that children love.” “Teaching is most effective when pupils are having fun and giving our students the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom – through practical investigations in the open air – is extremely powerful. The children will talk about their visit to CambridgePPF’s Wandlebury for many weeks to come. They learnt so much from the team. I’d recommend the charity’s education programme to other schools in the area. It’s great news that Chariots of Fire will extend the scope of this extremely valuable work.” 

Frances Cooper, Education Advisor and Ranger at CambridgePPF, said: “At present we cater for school and college groups from Foundation Years through the Key Stages to Sixth Form studies. We also work with youth groups, home educators, out of school clubs and adult education groups. With help from Chariots of Fire we’ll be able to expand our scheme, making it more accessible to larger numbers of schoolchildren as well as other specialist local groups – a move that will give future generations an appreciation of the environment right on our doorstep in Cambridge.” CambridgePPF’s education programme is linked to the National Curriculum and fully risk assessed. 

Activities can be tailored to specific requirements but broadly include: Story-led hands-on nature investigations for preschools and reception classes (under 5’s)Seasonal studies, particularly suited to reception classesNature trails and activity-based walks adapted to different age groupsPond investigationsArt activities inspired by natureImaginative 3D sculpturing from natural objectsKey Stage 3/4, BTEC & Sixth Form Studies for older groups including ecological sampling and data collection focusing on biodiversity and field plant identificationOrienteeringGuided walks to look at site management and discuss sustainability, succession, habitat enhancement, human requirements and impact Charles Hewitson, race director of Hewitsons, said: “Every year selecting a beneficiary charity is a time consuming and difficult decision to make but seeing the valuable work and positive impact CPPF has on the localcommunity and future generations makes it all worthwhile.” 

Register Today! To enter a team click on the Enter button at the top of the page. For further information please contact: Sarah Head / Stephen Page c/o Hewitsons Tel: 01223 447403 E-mail: admin@chariots-of-fire.co.uk