Two courageous teachers at a Dungannon school, which is so overcrowded some pupils are taught in the canteen, are cycling the length of Ireland in a bid to raise vital funds.
Children at Roan Primary School, Eglish, which has been refused a new extension by the Department of Education, are being taught in a dining hall because of overcrowded classrooms after its enrolment swelled by more than 50 percent from 83 pupils to 126.
The desperate measures to cater for the rocketing pupil numbers have been in place since 2008.
Principal Seamus McCreesh said he and his colleague James Grimley are cycling the arduous route to raise funds for a new playground.
Already the dynamic duo have raised over £10,000 with the help of sponsors, including their main supporter No.21 Helena’s Hair Salon Omagh, and have appealed for more support.
The cycle will take place over 3 days with a total of 400 miles being covered. The teachers will be joined by four other local cyclists from construction companies McAleer and Rushe and Oakleaf Contracts.
“With the support of our main sponsor No.21 Helena’s Hair Salon Omagh, local businesses, parents and students over £10000 has been raised already”, said Mr McCreesh.
“A special cycling jersey has been designed for the cycle containing all the names of the various sponsors.
The cyclists will travel from Mizen Head to Nenagh in County Tipperary on day one, as far as Enniskillen on day two and reach Malin Head on the Sunday evening.
“The whole school community wish to thank all those who supported the cycle”, said Seamus.
The pair of been in training since the start of the year, and whereas Seamus is an accomplished cyclist and a member of Clogher Valley Wheelers, his colleague James is new to the sport.
“It’s been a steep curve building up the miles and the stamina, but we are confident that we have a great team of cyclists, who will work together.”
Earlier this year, the Department of Education turned down a development proposal, which would have secured proper classrooms for the disadvantaged children and prevented them from being shoehorned into other rooms.
Instead it agreed to provide funding for a new mobile classroom.
To watch a video of the intrepid pair just before the send-off log onto www.tyronetimes.co.uk.