Triathlon star Jonny Brownlee has officially opened a classroom that children at a Derby school have named after him during a visit by him and his brother Alistair to the city today (Thursday September 28).
Wyndham Primary Academy in Alvaston have decided to name their classrooms this year after inspirational sports stars and two of the reception classes have been dedicated to the Olympian brothers.
The visit was set up by Dean Jackson who attended Wyndham Primary Academy and now owns Derby-based HUUB which supports the Brownlee’s with scientifically designed triathlon wetsuits and kit.
Jonny Brownlee answered questions from pupils at a special lunchtime assembly and then officially opened the classroom before heading into the school’s special 4d room where images were screened onto the walls of him in triathlon action with the children practising their swimming, cycling and running skills.
Reception teacher Amanda Marvill said: “It has been wonderful to have Jonny opening his classroom and we also showed him the classroom that is dedicated to his brother Alistair.
“The children have been doing lots of projects about them and the other sports stars chosen as part of the project and have made all sorts of gifts for him to take away to remember us by.
“The Brownlee’s are truly inspirational sports people – not only for their success in triathlon but also for the way that they support each other. Who could forget the way that Alistair helped Jonny over the finish line in Mexico?
“Dean Jackson has been a great supporter of the school that he attended as a young child and we couldn’t believe it when he said that Jonny would be visiting us.”
Head of School, Paula Baines Chambers said: "Wyndham is a school where our mantra to the pupils is 'anything is possible'.
“We develop self-belief in our pupils and the class theme this year promotes raising aspirations. Sports and extra-curricular activities are an important tool to developing team work and at Wyndham we nurture and grow talent".
Dean Jackson added: “The Brownlee brothers are fantastic role models to everyone – and particularly young children.
“As a school rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, I think it is brilliant idea to name classrooms after inspirational sports people such as Jonny and Alistair. It will be a daily reminder to the children of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.
“This has been a day that these children will never forget and I know that Jonny is really looking forward to seeing the children in action.”
Jonny Brownlee told the pupils about his training routine, what he ate for breakfast and that he enjoyed watching sports on the television.
“The children were great and very welcoming and I was particularly pleased to have a frame of pictures that they have all drawn of me – which is far better than I could have done.
“I set them the challenge to make sure that they worked hard and particularly that they did better than the Alistair class!”
Jonny also joined his brother Alistair and more than 1,300 local primary school children for the city’s first Brownlee Foundation mini-triathlon event at Allestree Woodlands School.
Children aged seven to 11 took part in a 20m swim in Woodlands’ pool followed by an 800m cycle and 300m run around the playing fields.
The event was facilitated by Derby-based HUUB Events on behalf of the Brownlee Foundation which has been set up by the Olympic medal winners to provide children across the UK with a positive sporting experience and to encourage regular participation in sport.
The Brownlee brothers cheered on the young athletes and spoke to teachers about the benefits of encouraging the triathlon disciplines of swim, bike and run in schools.
Similar events have been held in the brothers’ home city of Leeds but this was the first time that a taster event has been held elsewhere in the UK.
Dean Jackson concluded: “Having watched the Brownlees in action at the Olympics and the increased television coverage of the Triathlon World Series on television, this event is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters to have a go at the world’s fastest growing sport.
“Who knows – we may have some budding Brownlees ready to blossom right here in Derby!”