Hereford & Worcester

Ten Malvern College pupils cross Channel on paddleboards

Group Image copyright Malvern College
Image caption Five pupils paddled for half an hour at a time before swapping with the others

Ten teenagers have crossed the English Channel on stand-up paddleboards.

The Malvern College pupils took seven hours 42 minutes to go from Dungeness in Kent to Boulogne, escorted by two powerboats, as the area was scanned for oil tankers and ferries.

It was part of a three-week expedition to Paris by human power using different modes of transport.

There was "a big difference between real danger and manageable risk", the Worcestershire school said.

Seven boys and three girls aged 17 and 16 waited for almost two days until winds were light enough to give them the chance of a safe crossing, it said.

There were two teams, with five pupils and a staff member paddling for half an hour at a time, before swapping with the other team and spending time on one of the powerboats.

Image copyright Malvern College
Image caption They were escorted by two powerboats, as the area was scanned for oil tankers and ferries
Image copyright Robin Sandry of Norman Mays Photographers
Image caption Molly McNicholas, pictured front left with the squad, said she could "still hardly believe" they had done it

Molly McNicholas, 17, who has type 1 diabetes, uses an insulin pump and a scanner monitoring her blood sugar levels.

She said: "When your blood sugar is low it makes you tired, grumpy and bad at decision-making but no one at Malvern has ever said, 'You're diabetic; you can't do that' - just, 'How do we keep you safe?'

"Mum was a bit stressed about us crossing busy shipping lanes on a paddleboard but I really wanted to test myself."

Image copyright Malvern College
Image caption The crossing took seven hours 42 minutes

Following Tuesday's journey, the group were near Beauvais on Friday, as they continue the three-week expedition using transport including hiking, canoeing and mountain biking.

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