A REGATTA has been held to celebrate the return of bell-boating pupils from an Evesham school.

Youngsters from the Vale of Evesham School kicked off an Olympic bell-boat journey from Aylesbury, home of Stoke Mandeville Hospital and the birthplace of the Paralympics to Pershore.

The Vale School was chosen by Get Set, the educational programme for London 2012, to run the project which brought together 90 schools and 3,000 pupils – mainly from Worcestershire.

Since February, pupils have taken it in turns to row a route that encompassed the Grand Union canal, the Stratford canal, the Staffordshire Worcestershire canal to Stourport, the river Severn, the Droitwich canal, the Worcester Birmingham canal and the river Avon.

The project was organised by Andy Train, a five-times Olympian and three-times world champion canoeist, who teaches at the Vale school.

He said: “Throughout the journey, children have been made aware of Olympic values such as friendship, determination and respect as well as the message behind the bell-boat, a twin-hulled team canoe, which relies on teamwork.

“As a result of the journey, links have now been established with people in China, where the last Olympics took place.”

The regatta on Monday included teams from Broadway First, Elmley Castle First, St Egwin's Middle and Blackminster Middle.

Among the bell-boats was The Spirit of Evesham, sponsored by The Evesham Market Town Partnership. The Mayor and Mayoress of Evesham supported the regatta and presented the prizes.

Children will paddle this week through Fladbury to Pershore for the final regatta on Saturday.