Outside Edge: Selby kids say give us a break

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The Independent Online

Parents are throwing their kids' toys out of the pram after they were banned from watching their little ones playing after-school games. According to the Coventry Sports Foundation, who issued the ban at 43 primary schools, the move is designed to relieve the pressure on the children. But such nannying is mere child's play compared to the draconian decision taken by Barlby Primary School in Selby, North Yorkshire, which has had to ban playtime after three neighbours repeatedly complained to environmental health officers about the noise. Afternoon break has been cancelled altogether and other breaks have to be staggered to reduce the number of pupils in the playground at any one time. After earlier complaints, the school had already erected a soundproof fence and banned all ball games. And possum-throwing contests at Colyton School in New Zealand have been called "immoral" by the local RSPCA, even though the animals are dead. Seems like kids can't have any fun these days.


Number of rejection letters Paddy Rielly has received from League football clubs after he applied to be their manager – a new high, or low, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The 44-year-old from Corby in Northants works for Weetabix, so some of his letters were probably shredded.

Inflated opinion of a work of art

More angry neighbours, and the Derby County goalkeeper Stephen Bywater has landed himself in hot water for an art installation that he constructed in his garden in Sutton-on-the-Hill which featured a blow-up doll with rubber genitals strapped to a horsebox and a portable toilet covered in graffiti. The former England Under-21 player claimed it was his "masterpiece" and that he had taken up art as a hobby, but has now apologised and put a tarpaulin over it. Presumably the Motagua goalkeeper Donaldo Morales took potshots at a journalist with an airgun in Honduras because Saul Carranza had criticised his play rather than his artistic talents. Unfortunately, the keeper, who has played 31 times for his country, also shot his team-mate Jorge Claros, whom Carranza was interviewing at the time. Sounds like a penalty shoot-out at the OK Corral.

Good week

Philippe Croizon, a French amputee, became the first man with no arms or legs to swim the Channel – in 13-and-a-half hours, 10 hours less than he thought it would take. Rory the pigeon delivered a computer memory card from Beverly in Yorkshire to Wrangle in Lincolnshire in 80 minutes, faster than a computer could upload a five-minute video, to highlight rural broadband problems. Lisa Fulton broke the world spray-tanning record, treating 78 women in one hour in Glasgow to beat the previous best of 67.

Bad week

Anne Wood, winner of the women's World Gurning Championship at the Egremont Fair in Cumbria, had to be hospitalised when the 62-year-old collapsed after pulling a face for four minutes. Thierry Henry of New York Red Bulls, fined $2,000 for kicking a ball at Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman while celebrating a goal, injuring his knee. Accrington Stanley fans are no longer allowed to bring banners into the Crown Ground unless they can produce flame-retardant certificates to prove that the material is non-flammable.

The sharpest spanners in the toolbox

Gentlemen, start your leaf blowers. But if you can't be bothered to gather up all those leaves this autumn, why not use the machine for something useful, like the Power Tool Drag Racing Championships at the Fleet Air Arm museum in Yeovilton, Somerset this weekend? You can even say you're turning your hand to DIY as you convert your drills, belt sanders and chainsaws into dragsters that can achieve speeds of up to 70mph on the 100m course because they are so lightweight. One of the brightest sparks in the field is Barry Lee, an IT support worker, whose craft is powered by six circular saws. If it doesn't work, he can always switch it off and switch it on again. For something more relaxing, check out today's World Stone-Skimming Championships on Easdale Island near Oban. It's a pebble dash.