Honour for keeping kids moving

Who's been making the news round your way this week?

Friday, 13th September 2019 — By Calum Fraser and Helen Chapman

Amardeep receiving her award with Baroness Tanni Grey- Thompson and Paula Radcliffe MBE

Amardeep receiving her award with Baroness Tanni Grey- Thompson and Paula Radcliffe MBE

Amardeep Panesar, headteacher at Copenhagen Primary School, is the borough’s first winner of the Active School Hero awards, an initiative which recognises primary school staff across London making an outstanding contribution to getting kids moving.

Amardeep, who has been teaching for two decades, has been getting her pupils moving with badminton, gymnastics and dance. She said she was “honoured” by the nomination, adding: “As a headteacher I am passionate that all of the children in my school are moving and being active. The values associated with sport participation are crucial to every child’s success and have an impact on their future.”

As Islington’s borough winner, Amardeep will receive professional development from Nike and Youth Sport Trust.

Active School Hero was created to celebrate and support inspirational primary school staff working hard to improve activity levels in London. More details at activeschoolhero.com

Slam dunk success at Exmouth Market

Children as young as three, had fun netting balls

Children shrieked in delight while shooting hoops and melodies from a brass band saw the masses swaying to the beat at a colourful street festival in Exmouth Market on Sunday.

Hundreds of locals and those from outside of the borough swept into the road known for its gourmet restaurants, beautiful church and boutique shops. Lennox Charles, who runs community basketball team London Zip with the backing of the community charity organisation the PEEL institute, set up mini basketball hoops for children and elderly residents to practice their slam dunks with giant tennis balls. Joshua, 3, said: “I am having fun and don’t want to stop. I like basketball.”

Lennox, a popular face in Finsbury, hailed the festival as a “great success” and added: “I can’t wait for next year and seeing the youth having fun.”

For those less keen on sport, there was floral crown making and a foraging session to find out what wild herbs, if any, are growing around Finsbury.

Hospital porter JJ calls it a day

John McConnell

A hospital porter has been hailed an “absolute star” as he approaches his last days in the job. John McConnell, also known as JJ, has been putting a smile on patients’ faces at the Whittington for almost 20 years as a front desk porter.

He ferries patients to and from operations and keeps agitated families informed about what is happening behind the curtain.

“I have felt maximum contentment in my time here,” the 72-year-old says. “My wife has been retired for a while, she was the director of nursing. It’s about time I went as well.”

John has been at the Whittington for 18 years and he worked at the Prince of Wales and North Middlesex hospitals before that.

He moved to the UK in 1965 from Northern Ireland and he first worked in a factory sewing army uniforms.

“I have had some crazy times at the Whittington,” he says. “A few years ago chap started shouting and swearing at me. My rule is that silence is golden and just to say, sorry I can’t help. The chap came back a few weeks later and said sorry. You have to be very careful with people.”

JJ was due to be given a special service award at the hospital staff meeting last night (Thursday).

Siobhan Harrington, Whittington CEO said: “JJ is an absolute star. He is loved by our patients, their relatives and all of his colleagues. He is always has a smile for everyone and his kindness, thoughtfulness and commitment to our patients is an example to all of us. “I know that many of us will miss him terribly but after many years of unfailing service to Whittington Health NHS Trust we all wish him a very happy retirement.”

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