Hainault schoolgirl swims two miles to raise cash for play equipment

Emma Richards raised money for her school with a sponsored swim

Emma Richards raised money for her school with a sponsored swim - Credit: Archant

An 11-year-old “role model” at a Hainault primary school swam two miles to raise funds for a playground – even though she will be too old to use it.

When Emma Richards, a pupil at John Bramston School in Newcastle Avenue, learned her school wanted to improve its infants’ playground, she decided to chip in.

She raised £600 in the swim at Caterham High School, Caterham Avenue, Clayhall, on Sunday and now her deputy headteacher has nominated her for the Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award sponsored by the Exchange Ilford shopping centre.

Emma, who lives in Inverness Drive, Hainault, said: “I haven’t swum that far before without stopping. The furthest I’d swam was a mile.

“My teachers said I looked OK [after the swim]. I was fine.

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“When my teacher told the class, my friends were a bit surprised that I could swim that far.”

She even went over her two-mile target distance by 100m by completing 165 lengths of the pool.

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Emma, who came up with the fundraising idea, said: “The school wants to improve the playground and we could build another climbing frame or obstacle course.

“We could get a net around the football pitch and we could probably improve the netball court a little bit.”

The playground will be used by the school’s key stage one pupils, aged four to seven.

Interim deputy headteacher Alison Edgcombe said the school has been severely hit by budget cuts this year, so it is necessary to raise funds.

She said: “[Emma] is a real role model in our school.

“She’s very well behaved, very hard working and polite – a very friendly girl.

“It’s in her nature to do things for other people, but we were surprised.”

Emma learned to swim at the Metres to Miles swim school at Caterham High and has now progressed to the B squad of the borough’s swimming club.

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