Over 3000 people attended a community event on Sunday which was organised by The Harpur Trust as part of its 450th anniversary celebrations.
The Harpur Run and Fun Day took place at Priory Country park, and was opened by Olympic Gold medallist Tim Foster MBE who grew up in Bedford and attended Bedford Modern School. Tim went on to compete at Oxford University before taking part in three Olympics, finally winning gold in Sydney 2000 as part of the coxless four with Sir Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell.
The theme of the event was health, fitness and recreation and more than 30 local charities and businesses took part offering a host of tasters, demonstrations, activities and competitions. Students from the University of Bedford were on hand to give fitness advice and to engage kids in mini golf and tennis activities, local bike shop Flamme Rouge ran free bike safety checks and soft tissue massage, students at Bedford college’s beauty salon Brookes were giving free beauty treatments and hair braiding whilst Priory Sailing Club had a record number of visits for their water sports tasters.
The event started off with a 5k run around the grounds of the park, and during the afternoon a 1k kids race proved hugely popular. Both races were supported and marshalled by members of Bedford Harriers AC whilst staff from Tescos were at the finish line to give out race bags for the kids. Local sports shop No Limitz donated prizes for the top 3 male and female adults and the top 3 kids.
Tim, who brought along his wife and two young children, stayed for the duration of the day, and took time to pose for photographs and to speak to people about his career. He said “I feel very privileged to have been asked to take part in this event. I had the benefit of a bursary from the Harpur Trust which enabled me to attend Bedford Modern School and it was here that I discovered my flair for rowing. Who knows where I would be now if I hadn’t been given that opportunity. For the kids here today, the activities on offer might just spark off an interest which could see them become a future Olympic athlete – that’s what it’s all about!”
As well as a free climbing wall and 25 metre bouncy assault course provided by the Harpur Trust, local dance groups and martial arts groups performed throughout the day including Nirtham Dance Academy (picture attached).
Chief Executive of The Harpur Trust David Russell said “Providing recreation is one of the objectives in our grant making, and we came up with this event as a way of benefiting the local community whilst giving many of our grant recipients a platform to promote the great work that they do in and around Bedford. The feedback we have had from people who attended has been fantastic and we are just delighted that so many people turned up and were able to enjoy a free, fun day with family and friends”.
The next event for the Harpur Trust is the launch of the Art Exhibition at the Higgins Bedford at the end of June, which was part of a competition involving children from 44 local schools. Full details on all of the Trust’s events are available on the Charity’s website at www.harpurtrust.org.uk/450.
photo credits to the Camera Club