PUPILS from a Darlington school swam a combined 603 lengths last weekend to raise money for a charity close to their hearts.

Swimmers from Year 5 at the Federation of Abbey Schools in Darlington took part in a swimathon in the town's Dolphin Centre pool to support Duchenne UK.

The charity helps people who are born with the condition Duchenne Muscular Dystophy, a cause close to the pupils' heart because one of their classmates lives his life with the condition.

Year 5 pupil Florence, who came up with the idea, said: "We have been organising this event and a competition to raise money by getting our school friends to guess how many lengths we will all swim.

"We asked local companies to donate prizes and we ended up collecting cinema tickets, pizza vouchers, book tokens and swimming tickets.

"We have raised £252.95 and have learnt so much organising this event.

Explained Florence, the year 5 pupil, who came up with the idea.

Duchenne is a severe form of muscular dystrophy, a progressive illness.