Portsmouth pupils to run 10 miles for Cambodian school

LINKS Students and staff from Portsmouth Grammar School in Cambodia in 2008
LINKS Students and staff from Portsmouth Grammar School in Cambodia in 2008
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

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A TEAM of more than 50 pupils, parents and staff from a Portsmouth school are taking part in the Great South Run to support a school in Cambodia.

The group from Portsmouth Grammar School will take part in the 10-mile run to raise funds for Chai Thom School.

The school has been working with United World Schools for five years to support Chai Thom School.

As part of the project, some pupils and staff visited the school to build it in 2010.

Headteacher James Priory, said: ‘We have developed a strong bond with Chai Thom School.

‘That we have so many members of the school community willing to do the Great South Run this year to support them is testament to this.

‘A few years ago several of our pupils visited Cambodia and actually helped to build the school.

‘Their enthusiasm when they returned led to a pupil-run Cambodia Committee being set up which continually raises funds through cake sales, mufti days and other initiatives to sustain what we have helped to build.

‘This year we thought we would step the activity up a level and have put together a team to take on the Great South Run.’

Mr Priory said he wants try and improve life for the youngsters in Cambodia, and that committing to run 10 miles was nothing in comparison with the tough lives that are led in that country.

‘Being a pupil at the Chai Thom School is a massive commitment, many of them are up at 5am to do several hours manual work before they go in to school, then return home to work in the fields,’ he said. The team at Portsmouth Grammar School hopes to raise £10,000, which will allow the school to make further improvements.

Mr Priory added: ‘It is quite an ambitious target, but it gives us all something to aim for, and it certainly gives me the motivation to get going with my training.’

Training is well under way, though there are varying degrees of fitness in the team.

A team run takes place every Monday morning at 7.15am.

Christopher Dossett, director of sport at the school, added: ‘There are definitely many different running paces and distances run, but it is much nicer to train with someone else rather than by yourself and it does help keep you going.’