Danny Quigley joins St. Paul’s kids for the launch of new Trim Trail

The pupils of St. Paul’s Primary School in Galliagh welcomed a special visitor on Friday when Danny Quigley popped by to cut the ribbon at the school’s new Trim Trail.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 12:57 pm
From left to right, Mrs. Ciara McCullagh, Nurture Teacher, pupils Darragh O’Hagan and Cerys McLaughlin, Gareth Blackery, Principal, Danny Quigley, Sean Irving, Education Authority (EA) Regional Manager for Nurturing Approaches in Schools, pupils Aimee Sheerin and Josh Harkin and Máire McKeever, Chair of the Board of Governors.

Danny recently completed an epic ten Ironman triathlons in the space of just ten days to raise almost £100,0000 for Pieta House and The Bogside Brandywell Health Forum.

The children were full of excitement when Danny arrived fresh from receiving his charity worker of the year and Sportsperson of the Year gongs at the Derry Journal People of the Year Awards on Thursday night. And despite the rain and wind Danny definitely inspired the children to keep fit and healthy!

The idea for the new Trim Trail arose out of concerns that the long-term effects of the lockdown in schools would have a detrimental effect on children’s mental health and wellbeing. The school decided to utilise Department of Education funding for ‘Nurture’ to create a vibrant and fun outdoor space which could be accessed by all children in the school. During his visit Danny tested out the facility by going head to head with pupil Aimee Sheerin who managed to beat his time!

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Pupil Aimee Sheerin who went head to head with Danny and beat his time.

Principal Gareth Blackery was delighted that Derry’s man of the moment accepted the school’s invitation to launch the new facility.

He remembers Danny as a P7 child when he taught him in Long Tower almost twenty years ago. “Danny was a bright and capable child when I taught him all those years ago. At that stage his sporting talents were already plain to see, but the qualities of perseverance and diligence to a task were what made Danny stand out even then.

“He not only impressed with athleticism but also with his mind – that year he learned to play chess and within only several months took on the role of team captain and Player No1 as he led the team to victory in an inter schools’ chess championship which we had never before entered.

“Danny is an inspiration to us all and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome him to St Paul’s to launch our Trim Trail which we know our own budding athletes will have many hours of fun playing on,” he said.

Sean Irving, Education Authority (EA) Regional Manager for Nurturing Approaches in Schools, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the development of St. Paul’s Primary School outdoor play area to maximise the learning opportunities for children within the whole school.

“Play-based learning forms the foundation of a nurturing approach, and this resource will assist the advancement of all children within the school community, and enable further embedding of the principles of nurture across the school.”

Mr. Blackery said the school is grateful to DE for the provision of much needed funding to allow it to construct the new amenity.

He thanked Hawthorn Heights for completing the works to such a high standard.

“Our primary focus this year will be to look out for the wellbeing of our children through our nurturing whole school approach, and this Trim Trail is one very positive step in promoting this – outdoor play and fresh air are something all children need and we are delighted to be able to support our community in this positive way,” he said.

Danny’s visit kicked off the start of a week of wellbeing activities in St. Paul’s. The school is raising funds through a whole school sponsored walk for Pieta House and also Young Minds, a charity devoted to children’s mental health and wellbeing.