With the 25th anniversary of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival last weekend, riders and trail runners were asked to throw their weight behind a local primary school's drive to improve the education of youngsters in the area. The Hawkstone Primary School, which is seven kilometres from the race headquarters at the Karkloof Country Club, runs an Early Childhood Development (ECD) class aimed at helping young local children get a better head start with their schooling.
Local resident Mary Gray started the project in January this year with the support of local landowner Bruce McKenzie. It is run on a daily basis by teacher Londiwe Dladla, catering for nine boys and girls ranging from three to six years of age, with another twelve grade R pupils visiting the school twice a week.
The school's ECD programme has been supported by the race in the past, and this year the race has appealed to mountain bikers and trail runners coming to the Karkloof trails to get directly involved in supporting the school by donating specific items that will be useful on a daily basis.
These include educational toys, building blocks, puzzles and any sorting games, as well as basic classroom needs like carpets, a full length wall mirror, preschool desks and any English story books relevant to pre-school children.