THOUSANDS of youngsters took part in a summer of free sporting fun in a Hampshire town, it has been revealed.

Free swimming sessions were taken up on more than 7,500 occasions, while 500 youngsters enjoyed so-called skate jams in Eastleigh as part of the Park Sport initiative.

Hundreds more took part in sports as varied as Choi Kwang Do, handball, paddle boarding and netball.

The scheme takes place every summer at leisure centres and sports facilities across the area covered by Eastleigh Borough Council. This summer, participation among girls was up from 28 per cent of the total number to 36 per cent.

The event, now in its ninth year, is organised by Eastleigh Borough Council and sponsored by CooperVision, First Wessex Housing Association and Eastleigh Community Safety Partnership.

Cabinet lead for leisure Alan Broadhurst said: “We are delighted to have provided such a diverse programme of activities for local youngsters to enjoy. Park Sport allows young people across the borough to access quality activity sessions.”