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SKY Makes Big Splash in Christchurch

SKY Makes Big Splash in Christchurch

SKY has dived in to rescue West Spreydon School in Christchurch, donating $200,000 to repair the school’s hugely popular swimming pool.

The gift - part of the company’s $1 million five-year commitment to help repair the city after the earthquakes - will be presented to school representatives during the Crusaders vs Force match at AMI Stadium on Friday, 30 May,

West Spreydon Primary suffered a double blow in the February 2011 quake. After being under threat of closure for years, the pool had just been repaired by scores of volunteers, with a big opening celebration held on 17 February.

Five days later, on 22 February, Christchurch was devastated and the newly-restored pool was destroyed.

“After all that hard work, the destruction of the pool was heart-breaking for the local community,” says SKY chief executive John Fellet. “When we asked our staff what SKY’s Christchurch project for 2014 should be, they voted overwhelmingly for the rebuild of the West Spreydon School pool.”

The chairman of the school’s board, Duane Major, said the pool had been a vital part of the community for more than 75 years.

“It was built during the Depression and we have families who have been swimming in that pool for four generations. Thousands of local kids, parents and grandparents have learnt to swim at West Spreydon so it is very dear to our hearts. It really is a hub for community life in the neighbourhood.”

Major says the pool had been fending off closure in the years before the quakes but everyone rallied to save it.

“The school and local community spent hundreds of hours and nearly $100,000 of hard-earned fundraising money upgrading the pool. We’d just finished the work and, five days later, lost the lot. There were quite a few tears shed at that point.”

With SKY’s donation, the school hopes to have the pool back in action next summer for school swimming lessons and for families to use during the holidays.

SKY announced last year it was pledging $1 million over five years to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, with the money ear-marked for schools and sports projects.

“We decided we want to focus on sport and recreational facilities as these are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of local communities, particularly their young people,” says Fellet.

-- Ends

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