Celebrations for Portsmouth pupils as swimming facilities open

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FOR years, using the swimming facilities at Redwood Park School has been an unpleasant experience for its pupils.

But now, brand new showers and changing rooms at the school in Cosham, Portsmouth, have been unveiled in a project costing close to £300,000.

From left, Simon Wright, Jason Grounsell, TV personality Craig Phillips, Kevin Byrne, Keeshia Concannon and headteacher Lynda Butt. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (143542-2448)

From left, Simon Wright, Jason Grounsell, TV personality Craig Phillips, Kevin Byrne, Keeshia Concannon and headteacher Lynda Butt. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (143542-2448)

The project was supported by local firm Checkatrade after founder Kevin Byrne visited the school and saw the old, outdated toilets and showers which had no disabled access.

Kevin decided to run 12 marathons in a year to raise money for the school.

He said: ‘It was the toughest thing I have ever done. But I’m just really proud to see that this is here, not just for this generation but for all those that are going to come through.’

The new facilities were officially opened by former Big Brother winner and ambassador for Check-a-trade, Craig Phillips. He said: ‘It’s a great pleasure and honour to open up Redwood Park School’s new swimming pool facilities because it’s fantastic for the community.

‘Checkatrade have worked so hard over the last 12 months raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to put this place right. Sadly it was left to ruin.

‘Once meeting the headteacher and the pupils that are here who are going to benefit from them, it was clear to see why it was a necessary and important job which had to be done.’

Former headteacher Tony Cox said: ‘When I became headteacher it was always my ambition to do something to make things better for the pupils and members of the community that used our swimming pool.

‘For me it is fantastic news that my dream has become a reality. I’m glad that Redwood Park now has changing rooms of which we can all be proud.’

Headteacher Lynda Butt said: ‘It’s just amazing. The children haven’t stopped talking about the showers. You should have seen their faces when they saw them.

‘Living in Portsmouth, the main challenge for us is to make sure that every single child can swim.’

‘It’s not just our school, it’s going to be the whole community that will benefit from this.’