Bradley Stoke boys swim the Channel to secure school funding

Bradley Stoke boys swim the Channel to secure school funding

Three schoolboys from Bradley Stoke have made a splash this week after completing a challenge to swim the width of the English Channel in just twelve weeks.

On Tuesday (December 18), a crowd gathered at Bradley Stoke Active Lifestyle Centre to cheer on Finley Palmer, Archie Matthews and Joe Moody, all ten-year-old pupils at Bowsland Green Primary, as they started the final leg of their ambitious 22-mile fundraising challenge. Upon completing the challenge, Centre staff were on-hand to greet the boys with a certificate and goodie bag for their admirable efforts.

The boys, who’ve swum 1,416 lengths between them at the Lifestyle Centre pool since October 1st, have been raising much-needed funds for their school, hoping to leave the legacy of a new-and-improved outdoor play area before they move onto secondary school next summer. Within hours of completing their challenge, the boys saw their efforts rewarded and fundraising ambitions realised as they smashed their target of £1,000.

As keen participants across a range of sports, including swimming, water polo, football and rugby, the boys have taken to the challenge with great determination, completing it nearly two weeks earlier than planned. The Lifestyle Centre was keen to support them in achieving their goal, allowing all three to swim for free throughout the duration of the challenge.

After taking on a ‘Channel Challenge’ of their own, three staff members at the Centre can appreciate the scale of the boys’ swim. When Ian Jones, Director of Buildings and Environment, started his challenge in September, he inspired Erica Cross and Health, Safety & Compliance Manager Sonja Dalgarno to each swim the distance before Christmas.

Erica, Marketing Manager at Circadian Trust, said: “I went to school with Archie’s mum, so have been following their progress on social media. I’m really touched by their kindness, so it was a pleasure to show my support and cheer them on for their final lengths.

“After presenting the boys with their certificates and goodie bags, it really spurred me on to complete the staff swimming challenge – and we did so yesterday (19 December)! It’s easy to forget what you can achieve in a short period of time, so I hope this story inspires people in the community to embrace a new challenge in the New Year.”

Jody Coles, Archie Matthews’ mum said: “We knew this was a huge undertaking for the boys when they started, so we’re incredibly proud of their determination to raise money for their school and complete the challenge. They’ve all enjoyed their time at Bowsland Green Primary and were very keen to give something in return for future pupils to enjoy.”

Rob Candlin, Centre Manager said: “This was a big challenge for a worthy cause and it’s been a privilege for the Centre to help the boys make it happen. They’ve shown fantastic dedication to their swimming and have proven what can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.

“As our staff members have recently shown, we’re always keen to lead the way and help people achieve their goals, so I’d encourage anyone interested in taking up a new challenge to come along and give it a go!”

Bradley Stoke Active Lifestyle Centre is one of five lifestyle Centres and a dual-use Sports Centre operated across South Gloucestershire by the not for profit organisation Circadian Trust.

To find out more about the boys’ fundraising campaign, or to help them reach their target, please visit the JustGiving page:

To find out more about Bradley Stoke Active Lifestyle Centre, please visit:

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