PUPILS at a Carlisle primary school got a surprise when a special guest dropped by this week.

Belle Vue Primary welcomed fitness coach Joe Wicks to the city on Monday. Wicks, whose online workouts went viral during the pandemic, is touring the country to promote his new children’s book, ‘The Burpee Bears’.

The school’s deputy headteacher, Mark Shenton, said: “The visit came about after one of our Year 2 teachers, Andrea Wharton, entered a competition on Facebook to ‘win a visit to your school from Joe’. The competition attracted over 40,000 entries so we were very fortunate to be one of the 12 schools from around the country to be chosen.

"We shared the news with pupils via our weekly Celebration Assembly over a week ago, and to say that they were excited would be an understatement.”

When asked what it meant for the school to welcome the man known as ‘The Body Coach’, Mr Shenton said: “We were incredibly proud to welcome Joe to Belle Vue. It was only 18 months ago now that we were at the start of the pandemic and some pupils were learning in school and some were learning from home.

"At that time, the Joe Wicks workout videos provided our school community with a lovely, shared moment each day where we were all doing the same thing at the same time. It felt very special therefore, to welcome Joe into school in person! If you have seen the video of the event which Joe posted on his Instagram page, you will hear just how excited the children were.”

Outlining what their guest got up to during his visit, Mr Shenton said: “Joe was more than happy to agree to do a workout with all 435 pupils on the school playground. He had originally planned to do some exercises to two songs, but he was enjoying it so much he asked to do a third!

“The children also had the opportunity to ask some questions. They managed to find out that he definitely can do 50 star jumps in a minute; he loves visiting schools more than anything and that one of his favourite chocolate bars is an orange Twirl!

“It really was a fantastic opportunity for the school, and we are so grateful to Joe for taking the time to visit us. I know that it is one of those special visits which will live long in the memory of our pupils.”