AROUND a hundred Poole schoolgirls have completed a tough 15-mile charity walk, to help fund clean water facilities and raise awareness of the daily plight of millions of women across the Third World.

The girls, from Parkstone Grammar School, met up in Swanage at 4am on Wednesday before starting the long trek back to Poole.

Organisers decided on the 15-mile route, as it is roughly equivalent to the distances many African women travel daily, with back-breaking loads, to ensure their families have water to drink.

All money raised go towards Water Aid, which works to supply clean, drinkable water in isolated communities.

The Daily Echo caught up with the group, that included members of school staff, in Poole Park, a few miles from the finishing line at their school.

Event organiser Paul Barber said: “Everyone was in really good humour when we met up this morning. I don’t think they all fully realised how far 15 miles actually was, but the girls were so fired up about doing it. The school is providing us with a cooked breakfast, which everyone is looking forward to. Not far to go now.”

Ahead of the girls’ charity walk, Parkstone Grammar School’s Emma Hattersley explained: “We are doing this to increase awareness of the many African women who have to walk a similar distance everyday to fetch drinkable water. We are raising the money to give to Water Aid so drinkable water facilities can be built in villages where these women live.”

According to Water Aid more than 748 million people, roughly one in ten of the world’s population, don’t have access to safe water.

The charity says more than 500,000 children die yearly from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water.