CHILDREN have walked to school dressed as characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in an effort to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

Pupils from The Rydal Academy, formerly Dodmire Infants and Junior School, took part in the first themed Friday Walk to school of 2013.

The walks will form a key part of Darlington Borough Council’s Mega Motion campaign to encourage pupils and parents to walk, cycle or scoot to school every Friday.

The Willy Wonka theme was thought up by a six-year-old pupil in class eight at The Rydal Academy.

Headteacher John Armitage said: “The Rydal Academy has one of the most active cycle clubs in the area.

“We have a breakfast club giving healthy food and games for any pupil aged four to 11 for free, thanks to funding from Greggs Foundation.”

Darlington Borough Councillor David Lyonette said: “It lets them learn navigation and road safety skills, gaining independence and confidence.

“Teachers find pupils who are active on the journey to school are more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day than those that travel by car.”

The Government-run Change4Life campaign recommends that children take part in 60 minutes of activity per day.