STAFF and pupils at a boys’ school in Didcot may soon be able to play sports in all weathers.

A campaign is being launched to raise £300,000 for an artificial pitch at St Birinus School in Mereland Road.

And staff say they hope the 4,000 square metre pitch will be ready to use by September next year.

Deputy headteacher John Marston said the installation of the all-weather surface would be a “tremendously exciting development for students”.

He added: “The boys of Didcot will be able to practice, train and play on a first-class sporting surface in almost all weather conditions.

“They will be able to develop healthy, active lifestyles which will stay with them for the rest of their lives; and they will be able to embrace the spirit of the 2012 London Olympics.”

The school has submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council for the new pitch will be located next to the tennis courts.

Headteacher Alwyn Richards, pictured above, couldn’t confirm that residents would also have access to the facility he said: “I can’t see why, potentially, other schools couldn’t use it – any opportunity to get young people using it would be good.”

He added: “Sometimes pupils can’t play on the main playing field at the school itself because it is too muddy and pupils have a five to 10-minute walk to other pitches at the Hagbourne Triangle.

“I estimate that the artificial pitch would cost about £300,000 with some of the money coming from school funds.”

The school is launching a funding campaign for a proportion of the cost through an online crowd-funding platform called Spacehive.

Bill Service, South Oxfordshire District Council’s cabinet member for leisure, welcomed the application. He said: “At some point the school could decide to hire out the pitch outside school hours and that would make money for the school.”