ADVENTURER and broadcaster, Mark Beaumont, visited Blairgowrie High School today (27 March, 2013) as part of the Champions in Schools Programme which is supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
Champions in Schools is a life-skills programme delivered by the charity Winning Scotland Foundation. It places Scotland’s high performing athletes in the classroom to deliver a series of three inspirational workshops during the school year. A healthy, balanced diet is a key message conveyed by the athletes who also educate pupils on how to set and achieve goals, appreciate the value of hard work and adopt a positive, winning attitude.
Over 130 athletes covering a broad spectrum of sports are involved in the programme including: Chris Paterson MBE, Scottish rugby’s highest ever points scorer; Ben Cathro, British Downhill Mountain Biking Champion; and Lee McConnell, the most medalled Scottish (track & field) athlete in history.
Perth-based Mark, whose first sporting success was cycling across Scotland aged 12, can now boast several impressive sporting accolades including breaking the world record in 2008 for the fastest circumnavigation by bicycle – 18,296 miles in 194 days 17 hours – and being the first to cycle from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, also summiting North & South Americas highest peaks.
Mark, who has been a ‘Winning Scotland Foundation’ Champion for five years, delivered an interactive workshop to a large group of pupils at Blairgowrie High School, followed by a cookery demonstration.
The cookery demonstration which was supported by Perthshire-based chef, Steve Craik, showed pupils how quick and easy it is to make a meal that tastes good and fuels the body. Pupils had the opportunity to ask questions, split into groups to prepare the meal, and taste the end result – Scotch Beef steak fajitas.
“The school visits with Winning Scotland Foundation are so incredibly rewarding and give me a chance to help and support a class over three visits,” said Mark.
“This year is the first time I have actually shown the pupils how make a healthy meal, as opposed to just talking about healthy food types, which is a lot of fun – it’s great to see the pupils so engaged and proactive.
“My overall message throughout the workshops is for the pupils to believe in themselves and their ability even when others do not.”
Jennifer Robertson, Quality Meat Scotland’s health and education coordinator, added: “We are delighted to continue our support of the Champions in Schools programme for the fifth year.
“The programme is a great extension to our existing health and education activities including our Red Meat Voucher scheme for schools, our free cookery demonstrations and our Go for it Scotland! Bursary.
“The interactivity of the workshops meant that the pupils had the opportunity to ask Mark about his diet, the part red meat plays in meal plans and the nutritional benefits it provides.”
Richard Orr, senior programme manager for Champions in Schools, said: “Sportsmen and women are so valuable to society, because they can pass on crucial life messages to young people – such as the importance of working hard, setting goals, overcoming obstacles and of course, looking after yourself physically.
“That’s why, with fantastic athlete role-models such as Mark, we are working to deliver Champions in Schools across Scotland. We have already impacted more than 5,000 young people across 200 schools. By 2014, we aim to be delivering the programme in every Scottish local authority region.
“We are extremely grateful to have QMS on board as partners – their diet and exercise messages mirror our own, and together we are committed to helping young people in Scotland make the right lifestyle choices.”
Caption: Mark Beaumont with Leia Pol (left) and Rebecca McMilne who are delighted with their Scotch Beef fajitas.