Primary school children took the plunge this week thanks to a successful campaign to save their school swimming pool after a small leak became an urgent problem.

Hagbourne CE Primary School near Didcot has had a swimming pool for more than 50 years, but in June a major leak was found which the school could not afford to fix. The problem required excavation of one side of the pool to expose the piping where the problem lies.

The Hagbourne Pool Committee launched a Crowdfunder page to raise £5,000 with the aim of fixing the leak, however the committee was 'flabbergasted' when the campaign raised £10,000.

The pool committee is made up of parents and those who used to attend the school. Campaigners say swimming has been an integral part of school life for generations of local children and post pandemic, its importance has grown.

It is estimated that more than 1,000 children have learned to swim at Hagbourne over the years. Hagbourne School is proud to say that most of its pupils can swim a length of the 12-metre pool by the time they are seven years old.

Pool manager and Royal Lifesaving Society Trainer, Ann Stevens said the committee aim to get the pool back open to the community and swim schools in spring.

She said: “We are absolutely bowled over by the response from friends, people in school and people whose children have learnt to swim almost up to 50 years ago. We had one donation from an elderly resident, and it was a substantial donation, so it obviously touched the heart strings of a huge number of people locally."

She added: “We were also approached by charitable organisations both locally and national ones who have helped enormously and who have also pledged help in the future, which is great."

Phil Larrs is part of the committee and has a son at the school. He said he chose to send his son to the school because it had a swimming pool.

Mr Larrs said the school had enormous contributions from the community from school children donating their £1 pocket money to a £3,000 grant from Sport England and £1,000 from Changing Lives in Didcot.

The swimming pool is not just used for lessons; community groups such as Brownies, Guides, Scouts, Beavers and local junior football teams make regular use of it too, as do local swim schools. Schools hire it for teaching swimming, water survival skills and lifesaving. It has been used for teaching SCUBA diving and for lifesaving training and even Zorbing.

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