FORMER Olympian Richard Stanhope, who rowed for Great Britain in four Olympic games, visited talented pupils from a new high school rowing initiative.

Richard watched youngsters on the water as part of the town’s unique Oarsome Progress project, which gives children a chance to try the sport.

Year nine pupils from University Academy Warrington, Cardinal Newman High and Sir Thomas Boteler High impressed the silver medallist with their hard work and dedication.

Ben Dunne, principal at Penketh High, and Richard Sinnott, from Warrington Rowing Club, have high hopes for the scheme and aim to secure more funding as well as launch a regatta.

Ben said: “This should not be seen as an elitist sport for the well off. We intend to grow the participation from our schools over the coming years and give unparalleled opportunities for pupils to flourish and compete at national level. This is what collaborative partnerships can do, they create opportunities to achieve the impossible.”