SCORES of youngsters took the plunge to launch their school’s new-look swimming pool.
More than 150 people took part in a swimming relay challenge to mark the opening of the new-look pool at Farringdon Community Academy.
Lessons had to be stopped for around five months while the £80,000 revamp of the Allendale Road school’s pool was carried out and young people were quick to throw themselves in for the challenge to raise cash for the Gambia Project.
Derek Wright, assistant headteacher at the academy, said: “The pool was in a really bad state and the whole lot has been refurbished, both inside and outside.”
To reopen the pool, the school, in conjunction with the Box Youth Project, decided to hold a community swimming challenge.
Students and staff from the academy were joined by youngsters from East Herrington Primary Academy to take part in the sponsored relay swim.
Mr Wright said: “At first we thought we would get the community to swim the distance of the English Channel, which is 21 miles.
“But, we then thought we would make it even more of a challenge and swim there and back and they absolutely smashed it.
“The pupils had a really good day, they loved it.”
He said they played music to create a party atmosphere and the swimmers were cheered on by their fellow pupils.
Although they have to wait for all the sponsorship money to be collected in, the school hopes the challenge will have raised more than £500 towards the aid scheme.
The academy’s Gambia project involves a group of teenagers going out to provide aid to families living in poverty.
It was started last year, in conjunction with the city’s Box Youth Project, and has proved so successful Farringdon is carrying on with it. In December, the first group of pupils from the school went out to Gambia to help revamp a school and deliver aid and the whole school community is fund-raising to send the second group of students there.