Students were given an insight into the superhuman feats of fund-raising Marathon Man Gary McKee when he visited Workington Academy.
Gary, who raised more than £1.1m for Macmillan Cancer Support and Hospice at Home West Cumbria, shared the incredible story behind his 365-day challenge to run a marathon a day and the impact it had on his life and others.
The West Cumbrian was one of a series of special guests who volunteered to talk with Workington Academy students as part of the school’s Wellbeing Week. He was also interviewed for the academy’s radio station and led students on a park run.
Also during the week, rugby league stars Danny Sculthorpe and Phil Veivers from the State of Mind charity delivered a powerful session on mental fitness. While former Stainburn School student Ade Dakers, founder of coaching company Little BlackBird, presented a workshop on strategies to support wellbeing.
Barnardo’s Mental Health Support Team spoke with parents on supporting young people with anxiety; Cumbria Constabulary led assemblies on safer communities and Workington Zebras trained alongside students.
There were also sign-up sessions covering dance, mindful drawing, crocheting, singing and an animal walk and talk.
Academy Headteacher Mark Bedford said the health and wellbeing of students was always the upmost priority.
He said: “We are delighted with the response that our dedicated Wellbeing Week activities received from our whole school community.
“We are so pleased to be able to give our students the opportunity to learn and take part in opportunities linked to improving mental health and the importance of doing this.
“The response from our students was excellent and we are delighted with the mature way they responded to these activities and the benefits of them.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in making the week a huge success, particularly external organisations and guests, including Gary McKee, who was a real inspiration to us all.”
Students said they understood the importance of looking after their own wellbeing.
Kate, in Year 8, said: “During Wellbeing Week we learnt about our own wellbeing and how to look after it, as well as other people’s.”
Brandon, in Year 10, added: “I thoroughly enjoyed Wellbeing Week and took part in new things that I really enjoyed.”
Mum Leanne Jenkinson, who has two children at the academy, added: “Both my children came home and talked about the importance of opening up and talking. Wellbeing Week helped to break down the stigma around mental health.”
Gary McKee’s interview with Workington Academy Radio can be found on the academy’s website.