A NUMBER of schools in North Down have brought home the silverware in a province-wide search to honour those who do most to promote healthy lifestyles.
Bangor Grammar School and Trinity Nursery in Bangor have both scooped gold in Action Cancer's ongoing Health Action project which aims to educate young people on the importance of a healthy diet, care in the sun and the need to take exercise to help reduce the risk of cancer and save lives.
It is part of the Health Action initiative which features a range of health promotion sessions for nursery, primary and secondary schools, as well as further education colleges, and is sponsored by Centra.
The only programme of its kind in Northern Ireland, the award-winning project is supported by Centra retailers across the province, who have raised more than -pound;700,000 to fund it since 2003.
Other winners within the South Eastern Education and Library Board region were St Columbanus College and Bo Peep Corner Pre-School, Bangor; Millisle Primary School and Carrowdore Primary School, which all clinched Silver Awards.
St Malachy's Primary School, Bangor won a Bronze award.
A total of 37 schools have secured awards, recognising their top class health promotion activities for pupils.
Province-wide there were 19 Gold award winners, 10 Silver award winners and eight Bronze awards have been granted.
The winners impressed Action Cancer judges with their innovative projects promoting healthy eating, extra-curricular exercise, sun safety awareness and the dangers of smoking and alcohol.
All 37 winners receive a Health Action trophy or certificate and a prize of -pound;200, to be spent on school equipment, is awarded to the highest scoring nursery/primary school and secondary school/college in each of the five Education and Library Boards.
Action Cancer Health Promotion officer Catherine Foreman said: "In the award entries we see very clearly that there is some fantastic health promotion work going on in schools across the country.
"We use the Health Action Awards to encourage schools to make these the best they can be and to reward the ones that demonstrate the most innovative approaches to improving the health of the young people under their care."
Jennifer Morton from Centra said: "As part of our support we are proud to back the awards as they help maximise school health projects, which have real benefits for young people into the future."
For information on the awards, or to get your school involved in the Health Action programme contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344.
A full list of Health Action Award winners is available at www.actioncancer.org.