Thursday, 30 May 2013


Local rider, Callaghan White (3), from Portchester is in training for the biggest ride of his life at the second qualifying event of the Strider™ British Balance Bike Championships in Gosport next month.

He will be joining hundreds of other riders vying for the sought-after qualifying spots for the British championship finals later in the year at the home of British cycling. The overall championship winner will then win the chance to represent Great Britain in the Strider World Championships in Florida – the highest honour in balance bike riding on the planet.

“Cal calls his Strider balance bike his ‘Racing Bike’ and he gets so excited when we say we are going to the track to race. He has just won 4 out of 4 of the Strider Races at Gosport BMX’s Race Day last Sunday so we are hoping that he’ll do really well in his age-group at the main event in June.” Said Callaghan’s mother, Samantha White. “It’s such a great opportunity to give Cal the chance to take part in a proper cycling event – there really is nothing else like it out there.”

The 2013 Strider British Balance Bike Championships will have five major qualifying events that opened with a highly successful day of racing in London in May with over a hundred riders taking to the track.

With Gosport now firmly in the sights of riders from the south coast, and across the UK, The Strider British Balance Bike Championships are next arriving at Gosport BMX on Sunday June 16th before moving onto Gravesend (July 21st), Birmingham (August 21st) and finishing in Manchester at the home of British Cycling on September 22nd.

Open to riders between 18 months and 5 years old, there are still a few places open for riders to join the event in Gosport. Organisers are urging interested families to register before the event fills. Melanie Thomas, Strider British Balance Bike Championships organiser comments: “The events are open to anyone, no matter their ability, with opportunities to train and ride at organised coaching sessions before the big day. They are designed to be exciting, yet safe, environments for children to explore and play on two wheels, with the added excitement of racing.”

The series of events created by Strider, leaders in no-pedal balance bike technology, are part of a wider campaign to encourage tens-of-thousands of toddlers to take to two wheels with training centres and adventure zone play areas also planned throughout the year. Melanie continues: “Research has proven that balance bikes significantly improve balance and coordination which means that even our youngest riders can have a go.”

To register for the event and find out more, visit

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

What a Hullabazoo!

This Saturday, 25th May there is a great new adventure play area opening at Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire.  I was lucky enough to go and take a sneek peek last Saturday and it was very much worth it! I’ve got two young boys aged 2 and 5 who absolutely loved it!

This is the recent press release from Whipsnade which explains just what it’s all about:

“Little ones will soon be climbing new heights at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo with the launch of Hullabazoo Adventure Play - a brand new, outdoor play area.

Opening on Saturday 25 May, just in time for the half term holidays, Hullabazoo Adventure Play has been specially designed around animal movement, giving youngsters the chance to slither and slide as they run wild and test their agility against one another.

Taking pride of place in the play area will be Whipsnade Heights, made up of six giant towers for children to tackle before they climb cargo nets, clamber over rope bridges and slide down fireman's poles.

Other fantastic features in the Zoo's bespoke play area include a zip wire, monkey bars, balance beams, seesaws and climbing frames. And Whipsnade's youngest visitors haven't been forgotten about either, as they'll have their own dedicated play space with swings, slides, and a roundabout.

Marketing Manager at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Laura Duffy said: "Whipsnade's brand new play area will be a big adventure for little ones. We hope they'll be inspired by watching our animals at play before exploring the new play equipment as part of a fantastic family day out."

Hullabazoo Adventure Play, located at the heart of the Zoo next to Hullabazoo Indoor Play and the farm, is suitable for children of all ages, and will be open 364 days of the year.”

As for Whipsnade itself, it’s a great family day out! We took our car into the zoo and drove around which the boys thought was amazing! They loved seeing the animals and being able to stop to take a closer look. Along with the Hullabazoo Adventure Play there is also the indoor play area which was another huge hit with my monkeys! Entry to both of the play areas is included in the zoo entry prices and with loads of special events coming up it, it’s well worth a visit! 


Monday, 20 May 2013

Schools urged to 'do something' blue for the sea

Schools across the UK are being encouraged to ‘go blue’ for the day to raise awareness among young children of the importance of our seas and rivers.

The ‘blue day’ will take place on Friday 7th June – the day before World Oceans Day – and is part of the run-up to the 2013 Ecover Schools Blue Mile in Plymouth 17th-19th June.  

The Ecover Schools Blue Mile, which this year has a new charity partner, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), aims to get more young people actively involved with our blue environment.

Schools are being asked to sign up and make a splash on 7th June by wearing blue and doing aquatic activities such as relay swims, rock pooling and waterside walks. Other ways of joining in are creating a sea monster, painting a fish collage or designing a swimming costume.
The blue initiative comes as the UN holds events to mark World Water Day on 22nd March and as studies suggest that being on or near the water is good for health and well-being. 

Dr Mathew White is a researcher at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in Truro and has been looking at the possible health benefits of engaging with our coasts and water.

In one study, some 90 youngsters went on a 12-week surfing programme, part of which involved learning about the marine environment. They were then put through a series of health checks, which showed that their resting heart rates had improved and their quality of life, self-esteem and relationships with others were more positive, compared to a sample group of young people who had not taken part.

Crucially, he said the sooner that children are introduced to an outdoor lifestyle, the better: “It has been shown that the earlier children get involved with their green and blue environments, the more likely they are to return to them after the ‘teenage dip’ years.”

In separate research carried out by the National Trust, the charity found that children in the UK are losing contact with nature at a "dramatic" rate, and their health and education were suffering as a result. The trust said youngsters were showing symptoms of ‘nature deficit disorder’.

One of the factors behind the ‘indoor’ culture was the anxiety among parents about the perceived dangers of their children taking part in outdoor activities.

The Ecover Schools Blue Mile is organised by Plymouth-based triple round-the-world yachtsman and ocean champion Conrad Humphreys. He hopes the event will re-engage the nation’s youngsters with their natural environment: “All the recent research really does show that this trend of children not being actively involved with green and blue spaces needs to be reversed.

“That’s what the Ecover Schools Blue Mile is all about. It’s about having fun with our blue environment and learning about it at the same time. Let’s get our children active and outdoors again.” 

The programme includes a new science and marine conservation event with the National Marine Aquarium and Plymouth University  from 17th-19th June. Schools across the South West can register to take part in events on and off the water and in the aquarium.

The flagship event of the Ecover Blue Mile is a mass-participation swim and paddle event on the weekend of 14th-15th September, when hundreds of people will be taking to the water at Plymouth’s historic Barbican. Other events are being organised by participants across the UK. 

It’s hoped that £50,000 will be raised for MCS, to help protect our seas, shores and wildlife, at a crucial time with mounting pressure on our marine environment. MCS is set to announce the 2013 Good Beach Guide next week.

The charity works closely with schools in getting the blue message across to children at a young age. Since 2005, its Cool Seas Roadshow has reached 100,000 children, raising awareness about the beauty and importance of the marine environment.
In the last two years the charity has delivered 157 roadshow visits and distributed MCS Cool Seas Action Packs to 26,971 children across the UK. Almost 60 schools have also taken part in the ‘Bottle Champions’ initiative – collecting and recycling 207,020 bottles and sending  bottle tops to be recycled so they could receive a brand new kit made from recycled plastic bottles for one of their school sports teams. 

Sue Ranger from the MCS said: “We believe young people should be offered the opportunity to get to know our seas, appreciate and value this amazing resource and gain first-hand experience of the role we can all play in safeguarding it. 

“If this kind of learning about our seas and wider oceans were a key part of all children’s education, from a very young age, this would be likely to influence their life-long decision-making about resource use – and this could change the future.”

Ecover recently announced their continued support for the Blue Mile. They have just unveiled plans to launch a world-first in packaging in 2014 – an entirely new form of fully sustainable and recyclable plastic, incorporating post-consumer recyclables (PCR), Plantastic – plastic made from 100% sugarcane and plastic fished from the sea.

Ecover’s chief executive, Philip Malmberg said: “As manufacturers we’ve got to take responsibility for sustainability very seriously – to take real action on climate change and the damage done by our over-reliance on fossil fuels, creating ‘green’ products that deliver more than a nod to sustainability.”

Schools can sign up for the Ecover Schools Blue Mile event or register their own Schools Blue Mile events by visiting the website.