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Teen diving star helps his school
5:33pm Tuesday 17th April 2012 in North Yorkshire
A TEENAGE Olympic hopeful is leading his school’s drive to boost its swimming and sports faclities.
Ripon Grammar School has been hit by the withdrawal of pool funding by the local authority.
However it needs to find £25,000 to update the air conditioning system in the pool and money is also needed for new cricket nets and sports pitch improvements as well as for the upkeep of the school minibus.
Now pupil and diving sensation Jack Laugher, described as a “future world champion” by American diving great Greg Louganis, is joining forces with a former pupil to help raise the cash.
He is offering a GB diving team T-shirt, signed by the whole team, including himself and Tom Daley, as a prize in the 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.
Companies and individuals from all over the area are also supporting the fundraising campaign, with more than 20 further sport and health related prizes worth thousands of pounds.
Seventeen-year-old Jack said he was 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,” he said.
The student, who is studying for A-levels at the school, first rose to fame when he won double gold medals at the World Championships in Arizona in 2010, aged just 15, becoming Britain’s first junior World champion since 1999.
He traisn every afternoon and travels all over the world, including China, Dubai, Russia and Mexico for competitions.
Mrs Thompson, who was a pupil until 1994, said: “I really enjoyed and got so much out of sports at school. It is good to be able to give something back now.”
Tickets, at £1 each, are on sale now at Fat Face in Marketgate,Ripon, as well as from Ripon Grammar School in Clotherholme Road. The draw will be held on July 4.