OLYMPIC gold medal athlete Dame Kelly Holmes helped to inspire children to get sporty during a visit to Huddersfield.
The double gold medal winner took time out to speak to pupils from 13 Kirklees schools.
She flew on to the Leeds Road Playing Fields in a helicopter yesterday and joined in a variety of games as she met 300 Kirklees youngsters.
The event was part of National School Sport Week.
Dame Kelly, who is a strong supporter of sport in schools, said: “I think the facilities here are great, for schools in particular who are able to use it and try a variety of activities.
“This week is to celebrate everything that is going on in school sports and it gives schools the chance to work with communities and club links, so the parents understand what is going on in sports for children.
“Events like this send a positive message about the good things youngsters do.”
Pupils from Holmfirth and Honley high schools joined Year 4 pupils from the feeder schools in the Holme Valley.
Hollie Freeman, nine, from Wooldale Primary School, said: “I like running and rounders is good fun, too. We should do a bit more PE because we get to do different things like cricket. I know who Kelly Holmes is and I know she was a good runner, so I’d like to be a bit more like her.”
Hollie’s teacher, Rebecca Starrett, said: “All the children are amazed to be here and to be able to meet an Olympic champion.
“Children at Wooldale do at least two hours PE a week and they are able to do more after school if they want to, as many of them do.”
Dame Kelly saw 300 children take part in sports activities including basketball, rocketball, football, exercise classes and running.
She said: “When I was young sport was why I went to school. I did very traditional sports like rounders and hockey and really enjoyed that. But I found a sport I loved and I had the opportunity to take it further.
“I want to help inspire youngsters and highlight the importance of sport which is about raising confidence, self-discipline, self-esteem, leadership, communication and teamwork, all things they need after school.
“We have seen vast improvements in participation levels and schools are thinking differently about the number of sports they offer.
“I’ve talked to many children here and they all look to be having a fantastic time. Sport is about having fun, finding something you like and making new friends.
“If they find it is something they want to excel at then they can take it to the next level and get even more inspired.”
Dame Kelly was joined by Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, who said: “I play football, although you probably can’t tell. I see the benefit of sports in all walks of life.
“Sport has great benefits for the community. This is the first dedicated school sport week and it has been a huge success.”