Olympic boost for school sports

Jack Laugher and Karen Thompson of Nuffield Fitness and Wellbeing Centre in Harrogate with the signed GB diving team shirt up for grabs in Ripon Grammar School's Olympic Spirit Draw (S)
Jack Laugher and Karen Thompson of Nuffield Fitness and Wellbeing Centre in Harrogate with the signed GB diving team shirt up for grabs in Ripon Grammar School's Olympic Spirit Draw (S)
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RIPON’S Olympic hopeful Jack Laugher has joined forces with a former pupil to help boost swimming and sports facilities at his school.

The teenage diver, described as a “future world champion” by American diving great Greg Louganis, is offering a GB diving team t-shirt, signed by the whole team, as a prize in Ripon Grammar School’s Olympic Spirit Draw.

And former pupil Karen Thompson, general manager of the Nuffield Fitness and Wellbeing Centre in Harrogate, has added a year’s health club membership, worth more than £700, as first prize.

Ripon Grammar School needs to find £25,000 to update the air conditioning system in the swimming pool after the local education authority withdrew the pool’s funding. Money is also needed for new cricket nets and sports pitch improvements as well as the school minibus, used to transport pupils to sports fixtures and other activities.

Twenty further sport and health related prizes worth thousands of pounds, including match tickets, Thai boxing lessons, dance fitness classes, sports gear, and a day at the races, are also on offer.

Leeds United has offered an original signed team photo and Middlesbrough FC is offering a stadium tour.

Jack, 17, said he is disappointed by the cut in funding for his school pool: “It’s a really big shame. Swimming is a basic life skill which everyone should have. The pool gets used a lot by everyone at school.”

“Getting kids into sport at a young age is what will shape the future of British sport. Whether you’re a top level performer or a novice, everyone benefits from exercise and keeping active and healthy.”

Jack won double gold medals at the World Championships in Arizona in 2010, aged just 15, becoming Britain’s first junior world champion since 1999.

“School has been very, very supportive, giving me work for when I go away and helping me catch up with one-to-one sessions when I need it. Without this help it would be so easy for either the sport or my education to slip,” he added

Headmaster Martin Pearman added: ‘I am very proud to have such a talented athlete as Jack at Ripon Grammar School; he is a superb role model and incredibly modest about his achievements. All the students at school wish him all the best for the Olympics.

Tickets cost £1 and are on sale at Fat Face in Marketgate, Ripon, and from the school. The draw will be held at RGS on July 4.

Details of all the prizes are on the school website: www.ripongrammar.co.uk.