SWINDON Fencing Club has received a £10,000 grant to go into schools to teach more than 1,800 children how to look after their hearts using using swords and their own nimble feet.

The club is calling on primaries to help them improve the heart health of their pupils in the new school year by signing up to a charitable programme.

Neil Bromley, project leader at the fencing club, said: “We want to help children make the right lifestyle choices which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

“Using sword fencing as the hook to help them get active and stay active, they are going to have a lot of fun duelling with their friends, increasing their physical fitness and stamina, and learning a new sport.”

Pupils will learn the basics of the swashbuckling sport to improve their physical fitness and stamina, as well as the benefits of a healthy diet, including how to identify healthy snacks and food instead of ones high in sugar and salt.

The 2016/17 National Child Measurement Programme showed Swindon had a growing child obesity problem, with 34.7 per cent of 10 and 11 year olds judged over weight or obese.

It is the highest in the south-west region.

Barbara Harpham, chief executive at Heart Research UK, said: “Boosting your heart health doesn’t have to be a double-edge sword. You can do it through a fun, engaging sport like fencing. You’re never too young or old to look after your heart.

“Children will love learning how to look after their hearts through the exciting sport of fencing, leading them hopefully to an active lifestyle beyond their school years.”

The funds for this are made up of donations from customers in Subway stores and the nationwide Subway Helping Hearts Family 5K fun runs.

To find out more about the programme contact Neil on 07527 546164 or email neilg.bromley@ntlworld.com.