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Celebrations mark 200th junior parkrun in Little Stoke Park

Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018 at 10:31 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of participants gathered at the start of the 200th junior parkrun event.

Anyone walking their dog or taking an early morning stroll through Little Stoke Park shortly after 9am on Sunday 7th October may have been surprised to see scores of children dressed as cartoon characters running enthusiastically around the perimeter of the park. It’s not exactly the usual time of day to host a birthday party, but this wasn’t a child’s party, rather, it was a special celebration to mark Little Stoke Junior Parkrun’s 200th event.

Although the venue’s main weekly 5km parkrun event folded in 2016 after the parish council withdrew permission for free use of the park (amid widespread criticism from the running community both locally and nationally), a 2km junior parkrun continues to be staged at 9am every Sunday, attracting an average of 60 youngsters in the 4 to 14 year-old age range.

Photo of a cake produced to mark the 200th junior parkrun event.

Children taking part in the milestone event were given the option of completing it in fancy dress and were treated to a specially prepared 200th birthday cake baked by one of the volunteer organisers.

Junior parkrun is open to all and taking part is very straightforward: having signed up for free on the parkrun website and printed their personal barcode, runners turn up at Little Stoke Park shortly before 9am on Sunday, listen to the run briefing, take part in a short, fun warm-up routine, run a lap and a bit of the park, then have their barcode and finish token scanned so that the results can be processed and published later.

There are those who come to achieve a new personal best or a new milestone (and have a free wristband awarded for running the equivalent of a half, full or ultra-marathon). Then there are those who love coming for social reasons – new friendships are formed and kids run together, play in the park and spend more time with one another outside of the Sunday run.

One participant, Ruby, aged 11, said: “I like going to junior parkrun because it’s fun and it keeps you fit and healthy.” So far, she has taken part in 45 junior and 11 standard parkruns and volunteered on eight occasions.

More: Parkrun is inclusive – no matter what your background or abilities »

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Energy firm helps boost Stoke Lane Lions

Posted on Sunday 11th March 2018 at 1:24 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Stoke Lane Lions U13s wearing their sponsored kit.

Stoke Lane Lions are dressed to impress after winning a full team kit through E.ON’s Power Kicks competition. The Little Stoke-based football team of under-13-year-olds are now proudly wearing their new team kit for their matches played in Division Two of the Avon Youth League.

Jayne Coward-Worrall, whose son Billy plays for the team, entered the competition on behalf of the boys. Jayne’s husband Steve started the team up and is now its FA licensed coach, while Jayne acts as the team’s treasurer.

Jayne said:

“Stoke Lane Lions is a friendly club, as well as being recognised as FA Charter Standard. We put the emphasis on developing the football and social skills of the players, in a fun, supportive and nurturing environment. Our aim is to encourage these youngsters’ passion for the beautiful game without the pressure of a must-win culture.”

“The Lions are having a decent season, playing well together as a team and enjoying their matches. They’ve progressed from the Hanham Minor League to play in Division Two of the Avon Youth League and reached the semi-final of the league cup. With their new kits now, they’re excited about the rest of the season.”

Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON, said:

“I hope this new kit brings Stoke Lane Lions luck in their remaining matches this season!”

“We love running initiatives like this because just as we’re helping our customers in the way they need it most – helping them to only use the energy they need, when they need it, we try to work in a similar way in our communities, providing the support to local groups that they tell us they need.”

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Parkrun charging row: Government paper critical of parish council

Posted on Sunday 4th June 2017 at 9:20 pm by SH (Editor)

A BBC reporter interviews a runner in Little Stoke Park on the morning of the cancelled parkrun on 16th April 2016.

Stoke Gifford Parish Council, which hit the national headlines last year when it withdrew permission for a not-for-profit group to use Little Stoke Park for a free weekly running event, has been singled out for criticism by the government in a recently published consultation document titled ‘Running Free’.

The parish council caused outrage in April 2016 when it voted to insist on a financial contribution from the local volunteer group which had staged a weekly 5km ‘parkrun’ in Little Stoke Park since November 2012, claiming that, as an organised group, it should contribute financially towards the maintenance of the park.

Parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5km run that takes place at 445 locations across the UK at 9am every Saturday. The events are delivered entirely by local volunteers, with support from parkrun UK, a national not-for-profit organisation funded by sponsorship, grants and donations.

Local representatives said parkrun’s founding principles ruled out any compulsory charge being made on participants and forbade them from handling money, the latter effectively ruling out the raising of funds through any other means (such as asking for voluntary donations or applying for a grant).

There is also a 2km junior version of parkrun, for children aged between 4 and 14, the local stage of which continues to take place in Little Stoke Park on Sunday mornings as it was exempted from the parish council’s ruling.

In the consultation paper published on 12th April, the government says the decision by Stoke Gifford Parish Council to impose a charge on parkrun for the use of Little Stoke Park is “entirely contrary to the objectives of this government both for health and for voluntary community action”.

The paper’s introductory section adds: “The government considers it important that action be taken to prevent other local authorities following Stoke Gifford Parish Council’s example.”

More: "Parkrun and junior parkrun share the park with other park users" »

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World championships success for Stoke Gifford Taekwon-do fighters

Posted on Tuesday 18th October 2016 at 9:39 pm by SH (Editor)

The UK International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Bristol team at the 2016 ITF World Championships.

Stoke Gifford Taekwon-do were triumphant at the recent ITF World Championships held in Brighton.

Six members of the club were selected to represent Team UK at the Championships, which were held at the end of July. There were over 39 countries participating in the Worlds, from all continents, which totalled to over 500 competitors.

William Lambern who lives in Stoke Gifford, performed excellently in his first outing at an international championships against some really superb competition from Ireland and Australia, but was unable to get into a medal position.

Esme McCarthy also from Stoke Gifford, came up against some equally tough competition from Canada, Argentina and two Australians in the patterns category but rose to the challenge and was elated to come away with the first place World Champion title! She also had a tough draw in the sparring, as she was moved up to the heavier weight category. She put up a great fight to beat Canada in the first round but was beaten in the next round by Ireland – however this was enough to get her a well deserved bronze.

Lucie Robertshaw was also making her international debut and had a tough decision in her first round patterns draw against Argentina. This did not deter her though, and she went on to put in a fantastic effort against some really mature, tall girls in the special technique division. All her extra practice had paid off and she was rewarded with a well deserved World silver medal for her efforts.

More: Club members already looking forward to 2018 event in Argentina »

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