School pupils, parents and members of the community came together to swim for 24 hours as a weekend of Olympic-themed fun kicked off in an edge-of-Norwich village.

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Yesterday marked the first day of Hethersett’s Open Weekend which will see villagers join in a range of sports, show off their skills and take part in a host of activities based on the theme of the Olympic Games.

To get the packed weekend under way, a 24-hour swimathon was held at Hethersett Junior School. More than 300 village children took part in the event which was opened by Jo Hill to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Queens Road school pool. Jack Boyce, 10, who lives in Mill Road, Hethersett, and swam 50 lengths of the 15-metre pool, said: “It was a lot of fun. I like swimming and I’m a house captain, so it was nice to do something to help the school raise money for charity.”

The swimathon was held in aid of Norfolk and Waveney cancer charity Big C and was due to finish at 8am today with an appearance from Paralympic swimmer Oliver Jones who won gold in the 1988 Seoul Games.

Elsewhere, a three-day flower festival got under way at St Remigius Parish Church in Norwich Road. The Something to Celebrate Flower festival features 50 arrangements on the theme of the Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee. It includes arrangements based on events over the last 60 years, including the first four-minute mile, the moon landing and the first time Mount Everest was conquered.

The festival, which runs until Sunday, is being held as part of the open weekend and also to raise money to help fix the church’s roof, for which £93,000 is needed.

Rev Di Lammas said: “The church looks and smells amazing.”

Also part of the activities, Hethersett`s Got Talent was held at Hethersett Village Hall, Back Lane, last night.

The event marked the finals of the talent show and featured celebrity judges and guest act showcases.

Hethersett’s open weekend will continue today with the flagship event, Sport in the Park, which promises to be bigger and better than previous years. Running from 11am to 4pm, people will have the chance to have a go at more than 20 different Olympic sports at Hethersett Memorial Playing Field, Recreation Road.

A brass band concert will also be held this evening and a multi-denominational church service with an Olympic theme will be held on Sunday.

Sunday’s activities will also include Run the Square, a two-mile fun run around closed village streets, a women’s five-a-side football competition and Songs of Praise”.

Have you got an Olympics story for the Evening News? Call Evening News reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

Don’t miss Wednesday’s Evening News for our next special Olympics supplement, London Calling.

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