The inaugural Wichelstowe Games got off to a splashing start.

Under clear blue skies and warm sunshine the canal outside the Hall and Woodhouse pub played host to a variety of competitive events.

Six teams took part in everything from canoeing to rock climbing and running races.

The event on Saturday was the first of its kind in the area and was raising money for the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust to improve a slipway into the canal so boats can be easily transported between the land and water.

Karl Drew, the pub’s general manager organised the games. He said: “Our place opened in February and it’s been really really good so far. The response from the local community has been amazing.

“Everyone keeps telling us this is exactly what Swindon wanted and what it needed.

“So, I started the event. I got talking to the locals, initially it was the canal trust, they were telling me how difficult it was to get boats in and out of the water.

“Then I got talking to some other groups about how they wanted to get kids in and out of the water, the school also wants to get the children out of the classroom, get them outside, a bit more old school.

He explained: “I came up with the idea of building the slipway, but not just doing something this year, but doing something every year. Then it developed into building something for the community every year.

“Every year the games will be put on and we’ll build something.

“We hoped, this year, to raise the funds to help develop the slip-road, we’re hoping for around £5,000.

“I took part in the canoeing and the rock climbing and I haven’t been practicing at all.

“In September we’re supporting Air Ambulance Week and we’ll be doing a Beer, Cider and Music Festival and then we’re organising something for Christmas. We’re trying to organise a Christmas Carnival on the canal, with a light switch-on. But that’s very early days.

Coun David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, was there to officially open the games.

He said: “The idea is to develop a new community, that’s what we’re building here.

“This is a fantastic event to get people interested. There’s a lot of houses that are going to be built and we think they’ll be great quality that people will want to buy.

“People will want to live here.

“You can already see the village centre is really taking shape with shops, restaurants, schools.

“We’ve got a doctor’s surgery and old peoples homes coming along too.

“We really want to build this sense of community and the games today are part of that.”