ACTIVE 'oldies' are being sent into Wear Valley primary schools to lead lunchtime exercise classes for youngsters.

Volunteers trained in Tai Chi have been recruited by Age Concern for a programme which crosses the generation gap.

Two volunteers will spend a term in each of three schools, teaching techniques in a programme devised by instructor Margaret Taylor.

The project is launched at Auckland Castle on Wednesday, March 16, with teachers and children from three schools taking part, along with health professionals.

Part of the event will feature a group Tai Chi session in the castle's throne room.

Marianne Patterson, of the charity, said: ""As well as the obvious health benefits for participants, Tai Chi can help to raise self-esteem and promote tolerance and calm in children.

"It can also aid their concentration in the classroom.