The national initiative, launched this morning (31 March) at Albemarle Primary School in Wimbledon, encourages school children to collectively walk the 5,618 miles from central London to Madagascar throughout the duration of the summer school term, with prizes including an entertainment system, Blu-rays and DVDs.
The launch saw all 280 students take part in a fun albeit safe walk to school led by Rhys Edwards, the face of last year’s Christmas John Lewis advert.
During the walk, eight-year old Edwards was accompanied by four Penguins of Madagascar costume characters as well as a real-life penguin.
Edwards said: "I was thrilled to be asked by Dreamworks and Brake to lead the first ‘Smile, Wave and Walk to Madagascar’ event. It’s a brilliant idea and I hope it will inspire more children, like me, to walk to school instead of taking short car journeys.
"Penguins have been a big part of my life since last winter, so it’s great that these amazing animals are being used in such a fun way to get us all walking. I loved my adventures with Monty and miss having him in my life, so having the opportunity to hang out with Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, as well as a real-life penguin, was beyond exciting."
This marks Dreamworks’ second partnership with Brake, where the key focus is around educating parents and school students about the health and social benefits of walking or cycling, as well as encouraging parents to drive under 20mph around schools, homes and shops to protect children.
Richard Coteau, senior corporate fundraiser at Brake, added: "It’s great that children can use a film like Penguins of Madagascar as inspiration to get outdoors and walk to school with friends.
"According to latest figures, less than half of children now walk to school and parents, teachers and children themselves need to be reminded of the benefits of walking more – it keeps them active and healthy, and it’s a fun way to start and finish the school day. Brake continues to campaign to make roads safer and to make walking to school a fun activity."
The competition is open to primary schools across the UK throughout the summer term. In order to qualify for a prize, teachers are required to update their school’s tally weekly on a micro-site.
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