Northern Ireland

Bangor Academy: County Down school breaks world record for sit-ups

Staff and pupils doing sit-up exercises during the world record attempt Image copyright Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College
Image caption Pupils and staff at Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College set a new world record for the highest number of people doing sit-ups simultaneously

A Northern Ireland school has made the world sit up and take notice by breaking a world record while raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Pupils and staff at Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College have set a new world record for the highest number of people doing sit-ups simultaneously.

Its head of physical education, Stuart Donald, said they had to surpass the previous record which stood at 503.

"We got 827 people. We smashed it - we annihilated it," he told the BBC.

"In the process we raised thousands for Sport Relief."

He described it as an "outstanding achievement for the school".

Image copyright Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College
Image caption An aerial view of the hundreds of participants who broke the world record last month

Mr Donald was the driving force behind the world record challenge, which took place in March, on the final day of term before Easter.

However, they had to wait until this week before the record was officially confirmed.

'Educational experience'

"It was quite a wait, because with Guinness World Records it's such a credible and reputable process that you have to provide so much evidence. You have to justify and prove your record," the head of PE said.

"I spent five weeks submitting and collating evidence - my colleagues actually said I'd be getting a world record for submitting so much paperwork.

"But it was fantastic. It was all about giving our kids a unique and educational experience."

Image copyright Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College
Image caption Head of PE, Stuart Donald, said setting a new world record was an "outstanding achievement for the school"

The record attempt was witnessed by independent counters, timekeepers as well as stewards from the police, Army, RAF and Royal Navy.

Several other departments from the school also got involved in helping to organise and promote the event, and a video of their efforts was published online.

This week, details of the school's accomplishment were published on the Guinness World Records website.

"It was really, really lovely way to end the term and it was a fantastic start to the term to have the record confirmed," Mr Donald said.

Image copyright Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College
Image caption An aerial view of the hundreds of participants who broke the world record last month

The PE teacher came up with the idea by taking inspiration from sporting stars who have achieved global success - such as sprinter Usain Bolt and other world record breakers.

He said his pupils would now also "be able to say they're number one".

"Our kids will get a copy of that certificate that says they broke the record.

"They'll be able to frame it, put it on their wall and whenever they are fathers, grandfathers, mothers, grandmothers, they can tell their kids 'that's from when I was number one'."