Blackwater College Pupils Swim English Channel Distance…Twice

TWO pupils at Blackwater College in Downpatrick have made a fantastic effort in aid of a local charity. They have swam an equivalent distance of the English Channel more than two times.

[caption id="attachment_45048" align="alignleft" width="390"]xx Getting their swimming stroke into shape are Blackwater College students Aaron Cooper and Jamie Hamilton.[/caption]

The challenge for the Blackwater College pupils began on 9 September 2013 and runs until 1 December 2013.  Participants are asked to swim 22 miles in their local pool which is equal to the distance across the channel.  That’s 1416 lengths of the pool in Downpatrick Leisure Centre!

Jamie Hamilton (11MS) and Aaron Cooper (9AW) have been fundraising through the Aspire Channel Swim, to help people who have suffered spinal injuries. Aspire is a charity dedicated to helping those who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

These injury victims may lose muscle and sensory control and the vast majority will become full-time wheelchair users. Aspire seeks to help with adjusted housing, technology, grants and Independent Living Advisors.

The boys are both from Crossgar. Aaron said: “We are regular attenders at Downpatrick swimming pool as much as four times a week. And we are also involved in the Lecale Swimming Club at the Down Leisure Centre which gave us the training and the skills to perform this long swim.

“Jamie added: “We are just delighted to support Apsire. It is a very worthy cause. All the pupils and staff at the college have been very supportive. We never though we could do this and it is just great that we have managed to set the pace.”

[caption id="attachment_45049" align="alignright" width="390"]The bun sale at Blackwater College raised £250 for Aspire. The bun sale at Blackwater College raised £250 for Aspire.[/caption]

Dr Olwyn Griffith, College Principle, said: “The College is proud to announce that both Jamie and Aaron have not just met their target, but smashed it!  Both boys have in fact passed the 44-mile mark – this means they each could have swam from Dover to Calais, back to Dover, and have headed off for Calais again!

“Blackwater Integrated College conragulates both boys… it has been a tremendous effort.” The principal also presented a £500 cheque towards the sponsorship funds raised by the boys after the bun sale. (£250 was raised through non-uniform day and £250 raised through three bun sales.) Tasty buns and blueberry muffins etc were on sale and were quickly snapped up by staff and students alike.

Check out the Aspire programme at:

Blackwater Integrated College have very generously supported and sponsored the boys for £250 and on top of this ran three bun sales through November to raise more sponsorship money.

The boys also designed and made a notice board to display their challenge and tracking their distance swam. This is placed in the reception area of the school.

Also, during school time, Aaron and Jamie make a presentation to the school during assembly last week to show the work Aspire does and information about the challenge they are completing .

Jamie’s sponsorship page –

Aaron’s sponsorship page –