Pupils and staff from Taunton School are thrilled that their team of seven 13-year-olds swam 22 miles across the English Channel in an amazing 15 hours yesterday.

Emma Hounslow, Emily Lawton, Skyla Coate, Ollie Halliday, Imogen Childs, Jonny Cole and Annabelle Lewes went toe to toe with the elite of the British Military and came second after being pipped by the Royal Marines, who were just 3 minutes ahead, in the sprint for the shore just before midnight. The pupils beat the staff team by a massive 50 minutes.

On the staff boat were Hayley Mortimer (Director of Co-Curricular / Director of Sport), Duncan Sinclair (Prep School Headmaster), Laura Paige (Year 4 Teacher), Ed Burnett (Deputy Head of Taunton School) and Chris Coleman (Prep School House Master) and parent Jonathan Lawton.

For the last 200m all children swam to the shore together and were euphoric that they had made it.

The teams were spurred on after receiving messages of support from Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington, endurance adventurer Sean Conway and the world record holder for swimming the English Channel Trent Grimsey.

The race began at 9am on Monday (19/9/16) and they swam in relay, taking an hour each at a time, from Shakespeare’s Beach to Cap Gris Nez. It ended in the early hours of this morning in the dark on the shores of France.

All the children were very tired this morning but are proud of their achievement.

The race was streamed on Periscope and our Facebook and Twitter channels.

The teams have also raised an impressive sum of money for the Royal Marines Charity.

Hamish was understandably emotional this morning and when asked said when asked this morning: “My boys and girls were magnificent and showed courage well beyond their years. I have way to much pride coursing through me at the moment. Suffice to say that they were more courageous than most military teams I have taken across, none hesitated, none gave less than their best and all showed the selfless commitment that make great teams. They are all a great testament to what Taunton Preparatory School nurtures and develops.”

They were accompanied by three boats and an official observer from the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CS&PF).

Anyone wishing to sponsor the event should visit the teams Just Giving page:https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Taunton-Prep-School-Channel-Titan-16.