THE largest youth sporting event in Lancashire, the SPAR Lancashire School Games, has officially kicked off after it was launched by pupils from schools across Chorley.

Pupils from Coppull Primary School, Westwood Primary School, Primrose Hill Primary School, Bretherton Endowed Primary School and Adlington St Paul’s Primary School joined together at Clayton Green Sports Centre for a sports development festival, where they took part in a range of activities designed to develop core physical skills.

Organised by the Lancashire Sport Partnership, the SPAR Lancashire School Games is an inclusive competition providing competitive sporting opportunities for all school children across the county.

Schools across Lancashire will now compete for a place at the county finals which will be held at Blackpool’s Stanley Park on July 4, where over 2,000 children are expected to battle it out for glory.

A range of sports including gymnastics, football and athletics, as well as two new additions to the 2017 line-up, mixed cricket and touch rugby, will be contested by pupils from 15 Lancashire districts.

In addition, the Disability Swimming Gala will take place on March 15 at Lancaster’s Salt Ayre Leisure Centre.

Now in its eleventh year, the SPAR Lancashire School Games is implemented by the county’s school games organisers and sponsored by James Hall & Company Ltd, SPAR distributors for the North of England. Over £128m of National Lottery and Government funding has been invested into the school games programme.

Peter Dodding, sales and marketing director at James Hall & Company Ltd, said: “The Lancashire School Games is the most anticipated event on the youth sporting calendar, and we’re proud to be supporting it for another year.

“It’s important for all children to be given the chance to enjoy and reap the benefits of competitive sport, which is what the games are all about. I look forward to following each district’s progress as we build up to the county finals event in summer.”

Gemma Stokes, school games organiser for Chorley, who helped arrange the launch event, said: It was fantastic to see the children so excited about the SPAR Lancashire School Games, an event they look forward to every year.

“In the true spirit of the games, we brought together children from schools across the district to participate in a development festival and it was great to see such enthusiasm for keeping fit on display. Now the countdown is officially on, I can’t wait to see who will make it through to the county finals in Blackpool in July.”