24 hour non-stop swim to raise money for Peterborough Special Olympic Swimming Team
25th February 2015

This year the Peterborough Special Olympic Swimming Team has been selected as the recipients of the Oundle School 24 hour non-stop charity swim. The swim is due to take place from Saturday 28 February to Sunday 1 March with eight Fifth to Upper Sixth Form (Years 11-13) pupils swimming in relays throughout the day and night. Members of the Special Olympic team will swim 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 four years old and now swims for the Special Olympic team.

Charity swim organiser and pupil, Alice Poulter (18) 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. We aim as a team to cross the equivalent of the English Channel in the space of the 24 hour period in a continuous relay. We are very excited that a relay team from the Peterborough Special Olympic Swimming team are going to do the first leg of the relay with us.”


William’s Mum, Joh commented, “William has Downs Syndrome and needed a little extra help to get him started. Julie Clipstone, Teresa Black and all of the staff at Oundle Otters provided fantastic support and encouragement, but in particular Carine Barron, and Adie Black, who literally taught him hand over hand how to swim.”

Over the years William has progressed through his swimming qualifications alongside his peers and now has numerous badges proudly sewn on his swimming towel. He continues to swim every Saturday with the Otters and helps Ed Tate coach one of the younger groups of swimmers.




In March 2014, William joined the Peterborough Special Olympic Swimming Team, affiliated to the City of Peterborough Swimming Club (COPS), training twice a week at the Regional Pool. He has taken part in regional and national galas and has won four gold, three silver and one bronze medal. He will soon take part in his first European competition.


William is one of twenty five members of the Peterborough Special Olympic Swimming Team, all of whom have a learning difficulty and some with a physical disability as well. The group has four important roles:


· It gives the swimmers a chance to be part of a team, to feel a sense of pride and   achievement, to enjoy the success of winning, to learn to support each other in times of               disappointment, and have aspirations to improve, develop and succeed

· It helps them to be fit and healthy

· It helps them foster friendships and develop social skills and

· It is a support network for the parents sharing information and problem solving the many issues they have to face.


All the committee members, coaches and other helpers 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.


In January, Waitrose in Oundle kindly accepted the team as one of their ‘Community Matters’ charities and the Peterborough Special Olympic Team would like to thank all those in the Oundle and District community, who so generously put in their green tokens on their behalf.


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.


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 1110 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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