On Saturday 13th June 2015, fourteen intrepid cyclists completed the 133 mile ‘Mint to Mint’ Challenge. Headteacher Mr Powell and fellow Y Pant teachers, Mr Pearsall (Challenge Organiser), Mr Mortimer (Route Master), Mr Mitchell (King of the Mountains), Mr Jones (Elder Statesman), Mr Pelaez (Traffic Controller) and Mr Battle (Dave Brailsford- Team Manager) were joined by cycling colleagues from Newton Lifeguard Club and Ye Pirates Club (Porthcawl) for the formidable trial. Despite 5 punctures before leaving Wales and a sound drenching in Gloucestershire our intrepid crew soon picked up the pace and arrived in Birmingham in the early evening to city streets lined with jubilant well-wishers (well an old lady and a dog at the bus stop).
Ably supported by Mr Duggan, Mr Davies, Mr Abdo and Miss Purcell our cyclists were waved off from outside the Royal Mint at 7.30 am by Kylie McKee from Velindre Cancer Care Fundraising and our benefactors Wayne and Jayne Griffiths from Rhian Griffiths Velindre Rose Tribute Fund. Eleven hours later our remarkably fresh looking and exhilarated team were being photographed in front of the old Birmingham Mint which is now a block of elegant luxury apartments and offices.
Many thanks to all our kind supporters and sponsors. We are still collecting for Rhian Griffiths and Velindre and you can donate online at; https://www.justgiving.com/wayne-griffiths9/
You may not be aware that it is National Bike Week this week. We would like our challenge to act as an inspiration for budding cyclists to take to the saddle and enjoy the health and social benefits of cycling. Knowing that we were also doing it for a very worthy and deserving cause was a real motivator during the Winter training months.
If you believe; you can achieve!!
It’s National Bike Week this week which is our thought for the week.
You can find out lots of information about cycling on their website bikeweek.org.uk including competitions and details of local organised rides.
The National Cycle Challenge site also encourages you to cycle to work and log your rides to be in with a chance of winning some great prizes.
The following seven members of the teaching staff from Y Pant School will be taking part in the Mint-To-Mint cycling challenge on 13th June. Mark Powell, Bryn Jones, Mark Pearsall, Gareth Battle, Dai Mortimer, Mani Pelaez-Heras and Ian Mitchell. None of us is a spring chicken; so much so that our average age is over 45! There follows a little information about some of those participating in the ride and we hope this will spur you on to donating to the charity in the usual way by sending cash in via the pupils to any of us or by clicking on the following link and donating via the Just Giving website. https://www.justgiving.com/wayne-griffiths9/
Here are some of us at the start of our most recent training ride.
And 90 km later still looking as fresh as daisies.
Hello there, my name is Mark Pearsall and I have had the good fortune to be a teacher at Y Pant School for nearly 15 years. I’m a comparative newcomer to the joys of cycling; only taking to the saddle on a reasonably regular basis since last November. About 2 weeks after taking to the road and having not cycled more than 15 miles I experienced a vision on a dark country lane near Porthcawl at 6 O’clock on a frosty morning. The vision informed me that I should arrange a cycle ride from the Royal Mint in Llantrisant to the old mint in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. The challenge should be called the ‘Mint to Mint Challenge’ and should be completed in a day by a pilgrimage of similar middle aged men in lycra who also felt the need to affirm their status in society. I believed that people would scoff and deride my vision but I was wrong and a number of colleagues from school and Newton Lifeguard Club in Porthcawl committed themselves to a rigorous and punishing training regime to prepare for this cycling pilgrimage to my original spawning ground.
To paraphrase the film ‘Gladiator’; “For those of you who are about to cycle- We salute you!!” Strength and honour!!
I`m Ian Mitchell. I`ve been the Head of Welsh here for 23 and a half years (not that I`m counting!). As an enthusiastic and, it has been suggested, even obsessive cyclist it was natural for me to be involved in this challenge. I wasn`t so much asked as told: “Yeah, Mitch will do it” is how I remember it. However, participating is a no-brainer as this charity is close to my heart, as it for so many of us here in South Wales. As someone remarked to me the other day, there are very few of us who have not been touched by the wonderful work done at Velindre. Being well past the half century in years on this planet the thought of cycling 130 miles is rather daunting and I`ve had to re-evaluate my usual cycling technique of getting to the top as quickly as possible and then blasting down the other side at breakneck speeds. I know my mountain biking buddies will scoff at that but in my mind I don`t half go fast! In fact, check me out on Strava (in the aged 50 plus category, please). A couple of the less experienced cyclists wanted to know about my cycling strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side is my body`s ability to fuel up with carbohydrates. The negative? I eat too much bread! This is why being a MAMIL is not a good thing for me. Please support our efforts in this challenge. We are going to be well out of our comfort zone and would appreciate your going over to the just giving page and donating what you can. Diolch.
Hello everyone. I’m Mark Powell, the headteacher of Y Pant School. I’ve worked here for 9 years and have been in education for nearly 25. I can no longer deny that I am middle-aged!
On consideration of Mr Pearsall’s vision, two questions came to mind:
- how hard can the training be?
- how athletic would I look in lycra?
- not at all.
How I wish I could reverse those answers….
So, anyway, I signed up, replaced my battered old bike, donned the lycra, avoided full length mirrors and set out on the roads. And it really isn’t just about the bike: I’ve discovered a whole new vocabulary, a world of cadence, cleats and chamois cream (don’t ask….). But I’m thoroughly enjoying it, finding things out about myself and aching in places I had never considered before! Most of all, I’m proud to be part of a group committed to making a contribution to such a wonderful cause.
Here we go: rolling, rolling, rolling…..
Hola amigos, I am Manuel Pelaez-Heras “MPH” (Fastest teacher by name). I have been teaching in the UK for the last 12 years, PE first and ALN for the last 7. I am addicted to cycling since growing up as a child in sunny Spain, too much at times. I would label myself as “The best Spanish cyclist in the school”. Mentioning cycling and challenge was the catch for me, helping Cancer research bought me straight. I have lost people I still love and I know people suffering cancer.
I know 130 miles sounds crazy-loco but it is nothing compared to the tough situation people suffering cancer get through and not to forget their families and friends.
I am looking forward to cycling with the “Y Pant Lycra Gang” (YPLG) and having an amazing experience with the thought of helping in my mind and legs.
Please, please, please support us on this challenge page and donate via the Just Giving.
Thanks, diolch, gracias.
Head of PE and Taff Trail Challenge finisher last year, Dai Mortimer.
Head of Geography and seasoned triathlete, Gareth Battle.
Assistant Headteacher and Taff Trail Challenge finisher, Bryn Jones.
Earlier this year a group of More Able and Talented pupils from the Art Department were involved in the design and production of a health campaign poster promoting the safe use of medicines. The project involving a number of schools in the RCT area was run by ‘Art is Community’ and sponsored by the Welsh Government. The eye catching designs were praised by the chief hospital pharmacist as a huge success at the official celebration on Wednesday 6th May. The exhibition of posters can be seen at the Hospital.
Last week 3 year nine pupils represented Y Pant at the Comenius Conference in Norway. They joined 5 other European countries in the last meeting of the project, My 21st Century. Here Riya Kale (RK) and Megan Rees (MR) discuss their visit.
Why were you selected to go to Norway?
MR: We won a competition and the prize was to go to Norway. We visited a town called Sandnes.
RK: Our entries were presentations about Architecture and Society. We used the brief (a Winston Churchill quote) and interpreted it in our own way. Therefore we focused on our family backgrounds and compared and looked at the differences to our lives in Wales especially as we are from India, Nepal and Ireland.
Can you explain the project?
RK: The project is called My 21st Century. We presented our PowerPoint on Architecture and Society as well as our stop-motion film and our line poster about how we interpret buildings in the future. It’s a fun, confidence building experience where you can make a bunch of new friends of all different cultures.
MR: It’s a chance to build friendships with lots of different people whilst being part of a fun and interesting project. The other schools in the project presented work about how houses will be adapted in the future to be more eco-friendly, about how town planning will evolve and the Dutch school made videos representing how they will live in 50 years’ time.
Where did you stay?
MR: We stayed with a Norwegian host family. Their house was different to the houses here in Wales. It was wooden and had 3 floors.
RK: The architecture was different. It was rare to see a brick building. All houses were made from wood. My host’s house was very modern.
What did you do in Norway?
RK: Apart from representing Y Pant and presenting our work, we had a range of different activities: we went sight-seeing; we went to the beach; we participated in teambuilding activities such as Irish and Catalan dancing; we went bowling; we went hiking (even though the view of the town was blocked by fog!); we visited fun interactive museums.
What was the highlight of the trip?
MR: For me it was meeting new and different people. I also enjoyed going to the beach.
RK: Making new friends and going on the hike because I really got to know people.
What did you learn?
MR: You can have a lot in common with someone who is from a completely different background.
RK: There’s no point in being shy! Just talk to people because you only have a limited time.
Do you have any tips for future Comenius/Erasmus + travellers?
RK: Pack suitable clothing according to activities.
MR: Relax and be yourself. Take a plug adaptor!
Would you participate in Comenius again?
RK: Yes! I would do Comenius again, to make new friends in a different experience and also to have the chance to meet our new found friends again.
MR: Yes, to have the chance to learn even more about other cultures.
On June 13th six intrepid cyclists from Y Pant School (including Headteacher Mr Powell) will be joined by five colleagues from Newton Lifeguard Club (Porthcawl) to aim to complete the ‘Mint to Mint’ Charity Cycle Challenge’. The challenge is the brain-child of Mr Pearsall and is a cycle ride from the Royal Mint in Llantrisant to the old Birmingham Mint in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. The challenge is to complete the approximate 130 miles of the journey in a day!
The challenge is a natural successor to the Taff Trail walk from Brecon to Cardiff in a day endurance trial from 2014. The cycle ride is in support of the Rhian Griffiths Velindre Rose Tribute Fund which raises money for cervical cancer and other cancer research and care. If you would like to contribute to the fundraising there will sponsorship forms in school or you could visit the Just Giving site.
The challenge is in the spirit of the school’s Healthy Living ethos which advocates a healthy active lifestyle to assist with all round well-being and brain health to optimise educational success and lifelong learning. For further guidance on feeling good and living well, see the following videos:-
Comenius Sneak Preview
We are a Fairtrade Achiever school. This week we start to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight by thinking about the issues faced by the producers who supply our food and other goods made from things that don’t grow in this country.
Last year we learnt that bananas are the most popular and most traded fruit in the world and we eat 5 million of them every year in the UK. Shockingly many banana growers can’t even feed their own families because we are selling them too cheaply here. E.g. we pay typically 20p for an apple grown here but only 11p for a banana grown in tropical conditions! It’s the farmer who is at the losing end of supermarket price wars!
This year we’ll be thinking about…chocolate!
We eat 11kg EACH a year and it’s not just bars of chocolate; we also have hot chocolate, chocolate face creams, bubble baths and shampoo! 90% of this chocolate is grown on small family farms.
The cocoa trees need shade – under the rainforest and are picked and processed by hand after the tree is 3 or 4 years old.
The beans (which taste bitter) are fermented in the tropical country and shipped to more developed countries to be made into chocolate. Yes that’s right – a chocolate farmer may never have tasted his or her own product!
Some small farms have joined together in places like Ghana and the Dominican Republic to form Co-operatives. This helps them reach the Fairtrade standard which ensures that they get a fair price for their beans and a premium that they can spend on improving their communities. Los Brazos in the Dominican Republic have piped water into their homes, meaning they no longer have to walk 4KM EACH WAY to collect water from a stream. The Kuapo Kokoo Co-operative in Ghana has invested the Fairtrade premium in developing farming communities and farming skills – focusing particularly on water, health, education and sanitation to improve standards of living. Kuapa Kokoo has also taken a lead on addressing child labour, and is piloting a number of environmental initiatives aimed at improving productivity and adapting to climate change.
Last week 4 year 9 students travelled to Barcelona as part of the Comenius project.