Akrotiri village school students were full of excitement in November after the Bases started providing free swimming lessons at the RAF Akrotiri swimming pool for all school grades.

Each grade will receive six lessons, with teachers and parents greeting the opportunity with great enthusiasm.

Many of the children have never had a constructive swimming lesson before and the wonderful initiative will further-improve links with the local community, whilst also teaching children vital life skills for confidence and safety in the water.

RAF Akrotiri Swimming Pool Manager, Julie Jones, who was the lynchpin behind the initiative, said: “The children are absolutely buzzing with excitement. Polite and even presenting the teachers and lifeguard with small gifts from the village. The happy faces that leave the swimming pool speak volumes. Swimming is not just about fun, it is a life skill and as we all live on an Island, learning to swim is vitally important.

“This great venture can only get better, hopefully with swimming competitions, including both RAF Akrotiri Primary and the local school. Children will forge bonds between both communities for many years to come.’’

Akrotiri Primary School Head Teacher, Varnavoula Konstantinou, expressed how grateful she felt that her students were given the opportunity and stressed the good cooperation between the school, the community and the Bases.

She said: “After liaising with the Bases’ swimming pool manager regarding their offer for a free swimming programme for our students, we contacted the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth who agreed for this to go ahead.

“This programme reveals the good cooperation between the British Bases, Akrotiri Primary School and the community.

“We express our warmest thanks for this offer and we are grateful for the perfect cooperation we have with the authorities of the British Bases.”