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SGS Filton Set For Swimming Challenge

Published on 29th July 2014 by Tom Tainton

Filton raising money for charity

Members of SGS Filton Rugby Academy are swapping scrum caps for speedos in an attempt to raise money for the Children's Hospice South West.

The students have enrolled on a National Citizen Service (NCS) course, which brings together young people from different backgrounds and helps them develop greater confidence, self-awareness and responsibility.

It encourages personal and social development by working on skills like leadership, teamwork and communication.

As a result, the first-year students will attempt to swim 22-miles - the equivalent of the English Channel - and hope to raise £2,500 by completing the 1760 length-course at Horfield Leisure Centre on Friday (10am - 4pm).

The pupils selected the Children's Hospice South West as their nominated charity after hearing Sophie's story from her bereaved Grandfather, during an emotional visit to Charlton Farm on the outskirts of Bristol.

Once their charity had been adopted, the group had to put together a promotional Dragon's Den-style pitch that would convince the NCS hierarchy to support their campaign.

NCS Team Leader Joe Rutter said: "We've been really impressed by the attitude and application of this group - their presentation was very detailed and impressive. After visiting the Hospice as part of their course, the lads decided they wanted to help.

"They have really got their heads down, and put a lot of effort into this project. There were a few novel suggestions for ways of raising money, including lifting the equivalent weight of the Apollo 11 space rocket.

"But we discovered Sophie loved to swim, so we thought that would be a fitting way to raise funds and awareness on her behalf."

The Children's Hospice South West caters for children who will die before reaching adulthood, and Hospice Community Fundraiser Tamara Downes paid tribute to the efforts of the 16 and 17-year-old students.

She said: "I think the lads were genuinely taken aback when they came to visit us. We're extremely grateful to the lads for their support - their efforts will really make a difference to children who will live very short lives."