Octogenarian Olympics at Spring Grove School

29 May 2019

The Friday before half term saw a very special event at Spring Grove School in Wye, Kent, when 12 intrepid octogenarian athletes joined with the Prep 6 children for an all-ages Olympic competition.

In teams of eight – five pupils and three 80+ competitors – the athletes took part in a range of events that included the ‘pole vault’ (throwing a walking stick over a high bar), Möllky (a Finnish skittles game), modified ’egg and spoon’ with a tennis racquet and ball, and boules. After a ‘young visitors’ race for anyone aged over 70, the Olympics finished in traditional style with a thrilling relay that involved running from the 11 year olds, and (fast!) walking from the octogenarians.

The all-age Olympics was the brainchild of local octogenarian and friend of the school Wendy White-Thompson, who presented the prizes to the victors together with Head of Spring Grove, Bill Jones, and Demi Bevis-Roadnight from the charity Dementia UK. It was one of a series of events held by the school this year to raise funds for Dementia UK, and to encourage more understanding about the disease.

A ‘dressing-up as your favourite old person’ day and special assembly in March marked the start of the school’s fundraising efforts, when Demi talked to the children, staff and parents about how dementia can affect sufferers and their families, and how Admiral Nurses, funded by Dementia UK, can provide the specialist support that is needed.

The Octogenarian Olympics was held alongside the school’s Summer Fair, and attracted a large crowd of parents and supporters from the local community in Wye. Maybe it’s time to add an extra word to the Olympic motto  ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’:  ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger… and Older’.