Visit by RAF Atlantic rower floats the boats of school pupils

Tillie Stokes, 12, from Springfield School, and Sgt Jane McIntosh in the rear cabin of the boat

Tillie Stokes, 12, from Springfield School, and Sgt Jane McIntosh in the rear cabin of the boat Buy this photo

First published in News Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

CHILDREN were delighted when they were visited by a member of an RAF rowing crew soon to set off on a 3,000-mile race across the Atlantic.

Sgt Jane McIntosh, of 216 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton, took her team’s 29ft ocean rowing boat to Springfield School, in Witney, on Thursday.

The Atlantic Forces team, made up of two men and two women from 216 Squadron and 47 Squadron at Brize Norton, is the first military mixed-sex group to take part in the challenge.

The race starts from San Sebastian de La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, on December 2 and finishes in Antigua in the Caribbean, a journey of 3,000 miles which they will cover in about 50 days.

The team is supporting three charities on its challenge: Alzeihmer’s Society, Action for Children and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

Springfield School will make donations in return for having its name showcased on the boat.

Pupils were able to look around the boat and ask questions and will track the crew’s progress on the official race website and incorporate it into their lessons.

Sgt McIntosh, 34, said: “The children were really lovely and really excited to see the boat.

“The challenge should take us about 50 days.”

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Headteacher Emma Lawley said: “Springfield School was proud to welcome such an inspiring and determined individual into our school and to share in this positive challenge.”

Sgt MacIntosh is visiting other schools in the area with the boat, including Carterton Primary School.

For more information about the race visit http://www.atlanticforces.co.uk

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