Schoolboys launch hand-crafted boat in Grimsby Swimming Pool
THEY called it the unsinkable ship – and they were right!
Six boys from Cleethorpes Academy launched their hand-crafted boat in Grimsby Swimming Pool before a crowd of spectators – and laughed in the face of those who doubted their workmanship.
The friends built the 7ft wooden boat as a school project, and defied those who were adamant it would sink on its maiden voyage, like the Titanic.
The talented bunch proved everyone wrong when they climbed into the vessel, grabbed their paddles and gracefully glided across the water with big smiles on their faces.
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Harrie Healey, 12, said: "It feels great. Everyone kept saying it was going to sink, but we proved them wrong! I feel really proud."
The boys worked on the boat three times a week for three months after school under the watchful eye of technology teacher Brandon Figueroa.
They call themselves The Boat Club and say the experience has made them even better friends.
Mr Figueroa's lifelong ambition was to build a boat, which he has named Uncle T after his late uncle, Terry Lehigh.
He got his fair share of ribbing from fellow teachers, pupils and friends, but was behind the boys all the way.
And from the poolside he swelled with pride as impressed spectators forgot their doubts and cheered the boys on.
He said: "They have tackled this with so much enthusiasm and were asking me every day if they could stay after school to make it. I am so happy.
"I don't think I could have picked a better way to build my first boat.
"It is a rite of passage for young boys to build a boat and paddle it together. They were friends in the beginning but they have definitely become closer because of this."
Caleb Lyons, 12, and Brandon Padgett, 12, manned the front end of Uncle T.
Caleb said: "My brother kept saying it was going to sink, but he was wrong. It was so much fun."
Brandon said: "It was really good. I was worried it would sink, but it floated great."
Harry-Gavan Major, 12, loved building and sailing the boat.
He said: "I feel proud because people said it wouldn't float but it did! I enjoyed building it, too."
And Bradley Ellis, 12, put his fears behind him on the boat.
He said: "I was a bit nervous, but I feel really proud now and we are all better friends because of it."
Jamie Raven, 12, said: "It was great to work with my mates and I am going to laugh at everyone who said we couldn't do it."
They originally wanted to launch the boat in Cleethorpes Boating Lake, but could not get around the health and safety rules – although they proved this was far from an issue – so Everyone Active, which runs the swimming pool, stepped in.
Membership consultant Scott Dennehy said: "When I first saw the boat, I was a little bit unsure that it would float, but they have done a fantastic job. They will look back on this in years to come and feel proud."