Make like a Meerkat – An opinion piece by Kat Pope

Kat Pope May 23, 2013

Councils throughout the land are reknowned for stating the obvious and this week they have surpass themselves, for this week is a special week. It’s – drum roll please – NATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL WEEK!

Surely, SURELY, if you had any sort of inclination to walk your kids to school you’d already be doing it. Is an official nudge going to make you more likely to get out of your comfy car seat and into the dangerous wilds of à pied Brighton & Hove? I think not.

But that doesn’t stop our elected peers thinking they know best. I mean, surely the money spent on a campaign such as this would be better spent on making public transport more affordable and more reliable. No?

Forty schools in Brighton & Hove will be taking part in this week of pedestrian zeal, with Fairlight Primary taking the brunt of most of it. They’re taking part in a competition to design ‘five minute walking zone’ signs with the winner being displayed on lamp posts around the area (which is fine and dandy if you live exactly five minutes walk away from the school but, as we know, most kids don’t).

Hold your head in your hands as now it gets a little surreal. Piers, a giant meerkat, will be greeting children across the city as they arrive at school.

Run away! Run away now! Honestly, if my son had seen a bloke dressed as a giant meerkat at the school gates when he was younger he would have run straight out into the path of an oncoming car in an effort to get away from the thing.

And I do so love this: “Brighton & Hove City Council is using the meerkat as a walking mascot because of the animal’s habit of looking left and right.”

Was someone, somewhere, sitting in an office in deepest Hove paid to come up with that. Bring back Tufty is all I can say. Squirrels look to the left and the right too you know. They’re usually looking for their nuts.

Cllr Ian Davey
Cllr Ian Davey

Councillor Ian Davey, lead member for transport at Brighton & Hove City Council, said:

“Walk to School Week is a great opportunity to encourage more families to walk to school. This year in Brighton & Hove schools are sharing  local knowledge about the best ways to get to school, quickly, enjoyably and safely. The council supports schools throughout the year with travel planning and providing safe routes around schools.”

For more information on this madness: CLICK HERE: