Children from Taunton Prep School who braved cold waters and jellyfish to swim the English Channel have raised thousands of pounds to help save their local community pool from closure.
Boys and girls, some as young as 12, took the plunge for charity to swim from Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France.
The youngsters, who are among the youngest ever to swim the Channel in relay, were spurred on by the plight of Wivey Pool in Taunton which faces closure due to rising energy bills.
Jess, 12, said: “I was a bit nervous swimming the Channel because of jellyfish and swimming in the dark but we have been training in the sea at Lyme Regis so I’ve trained in the dark and been stung before so I felt properly prepared.”
Zoe, 13, said: “‘Swimming the Channel was one of the greatest achievements of my life and marked the end of a five-year dream. I love Wivey pool, I have swum there since I was a baby.”
Olivia, 12, said: “We trained at Wivey pool when there was ice and frost on the ground around the pool – the Channel felt warm compared to that!”
The swimmers, who had trained in open waters for two years before taking on the 21 mile journey across the English Channel, raised a total of £6,000 for the pool.
Liz Hurry, Chair of Wivey Pool said: “Wivey Pool is very grateful, impressed and in awe of what the children achieved – not just the money, but the whole Channel swim itself. It’s just amazing. ‘Thank you very much’ seems an easy thing to say for what was an incredible thing to do.”
A total of 18 Taunton School pupils aged between 12 and 14 swam the Channel in three teams of six. They are among the youngest in the world to take on the challenge.
See Taunton’s online listing here.