Ability not Disability
30th March 2015

24 hour non-stop swim raises money for Peterborough Special Olympic Swimming Group

Over the weekend of 28 February/1 March, a team of Oundle School pupils took part in a round the clock 24 hour non-stop swim to raise money for Peterborough Special Olympic Swimming Group (PSOSG).

The swim takes place every year for a full 24 hours straight through the night.

This year the Team comprised –Andrew Watson (18), Eliza Thompson (18), Hugo Beazley (17), Magnus Jeffery (16), Charlie Jacobson (17), James Alley (16), Maddy Farley (15), Ruth Warwick (16) and pupil organiser, Alice Poulter (18). Members of the swimming staff, Ed Tate, Julie Clipstone and Francoise Barron also swam a leg.




The group of nine swam in 30-minute shifts throughout the night. Members of the Special Olympic team swam alongside the Oundle pupils for the first half hour, providing an opportunity for them to thank the pupils who are raising money for them. William Roberts (15), son of Oundle School Housemaster, Huw Roberts and Dr Joh Sydenham, who works in the School’s DT department, started swimming lessons with the Oundle Otters, based at Oundle School’s swimming pool, when he was just four years old. He now swims for the Special Olympic team.

Pupil organiser, Alice Poulter commented, We chose to raise funds for this amazing charity because it is very close to the hearts of the swimming coaches at Oundle who have taught William from a very young age. This charity provides the opportunity for swimmers with disabilities to compete against other swimming teams. The memory of having members of PSOSG starting the swim with us is what helped drive us on throughout our swim, especially in the dark hours of the early morning.”




The team swam 1978 lengths, equivalent to swimming the English Channel two and a half times.

The team of swimmers hopes that such a tough endurance challenge will inspire people to donate as much money as possible to their excellent cause; all donations, large or small will be greatly appreciated.

William’s Mum and Chair of PSOSG, Joh Sydenham commented, “William has Downs Syndrome and needed a little extra help to get him started with swimming. Staff at Oundle Otters provided fantastic support and encouragement, literally teaching him hand over hand how to swim. Members of PSOSG and their parents are so grateful to the Oundle swimmers for achieving their 24 hour swim – a herculean task! The swimmers themselves really enjoyed the opportunity to swim in the ‘very long’ swimming pool. For Lisamarie and Chloe it was a huge challenge and we were amazed by the number of lengths they both swam.”

All the committee members, coaches and other helpers of the PSOSG are volunteers and rely entirely on charitable donations to fund attending galas and to buy equipment for training. The swimmers attend four or five galas a year and every four years they compete in the UK National Special Olympic Games. This year they are saving up to buy the Infinity Start System with auditory and visual start signals to help with competition training, especially for new team members.

Run through Oundle School Enterprises, Oundle Otters swimming lessons for children are held on a Monday and Friday after School and Saturday mornings. Catering for all ages, including adults the pool provides various lessons and activities during term time and in the holidays. The 43.5 metre pool is open to the public through an annual membership. Full details can be found at or contact 01832 277208.

For further details about the swim and to donate visit:


Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.


The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015. 


There are currently 1100 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11. 

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