Barry makes sure local school children are fighting fit!

Boxing legend, Barry McGuigan visited local schools in Kilrea last week to present equipment as part of the Happy Hearts Programme.

The Happy Hearts Programme was delivered by the Barry McGuigan Boxing Academy (BMBA) and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure as part of the legacy from the Carl Frampton Titanic Showdown in September last year.

Barry McGuigan pictured with pupils from Kilrea Primary School. �/Lorcan Doherty Photography

Barry McGuigan pictured with pupils from Kilrea Primary School. �/Lorcan Doherty Photography

The Happy Hearts programme is designed to teach and enthuse primary-age children about health, nutrition and exercise, giving them the practical skills to live healthier lifestyles.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “I am delighted that Barry McGuigan has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit the schools personally and deliver the equipment.

“This shared health education programme, provided to year four children from schools throughout the north of Ireland, aimed to educate the school kids on the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle and the importance of being active.”

To engage the children, the programme uses innovative move and learn mats where the interactive teaching takes place.

The mats also act as a focus for fun physical games and activities that are based around the key messages for each session.

Each physical activity also encompasses boxing skills and movements that aid children to develop their co-ordination, flexibility and strength.

Barry McGuigan said: “It’s great to see so many enthusiastic children taking part in a fun interactive activity programme that also educates them about living a healthy lifestyle.

“Schools do a great job of health promotion in Northern Ireland and our BMBA Happy Hearts programme is designed to be an easily implementable and sustainable programme that will continue to be delivered in each of the 13 schools that took part around the province once our expert coaches finish their six week delivery and teacher training.

“I am delighted to be presenting a BMBA ‘Move & Learn’ kit to each of the schools and visiting all of the kids that took part.”

“When you look at how well our sports stars are doing north and south of the border in the rugby, and in the golf with Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, and then a legend like AP McCoy coming to the end of his career and also Carl Frampton knocking spots off everyone and winning world titles.

“It’s great that young kids are looking up to these people, they want to be like them and they want to start exercising and keep fit.

“We really have to encourage young children to be fit and healthy and think about their bodies and what they are eating and their lifestyles.

“As I say the likes of Carl can help inspire these kids to get involved in sport and healthy lifestyle.”