A Northumberland rower switched schools to train alongside top competitive athletes at one of the region’s oldest boat clubs after securing a scholarship.

Ed Dando, from Hexham, was awarded a place at Durham School's Sixth Form through its Burkitt Scholarship programme.

Mr Dando now has the opportunity to train at the Durham School Boat Club (DSBC). It was founded in 1847, making it one of the oldest on the River Wear.

Mr Dando, who currently travels to school most days by bus from Corbridge, trains up to six days a week both on the river and at the school’s fitness suite.

Speaking about the opportunity, the 17-year-old said, "When I first joined, I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up with other rowers at such a high level, but the coaching staff are constantly encouraging me and have given me confidence in my ability."

Former pupils of the school have gone on to represent Great Britain at numerous athletic levels and events, from Junior, University and Senior World Championships to Commonwealth and even Olympic regattas.

Recent successes include Junior 16 pair Jannik Fachat and Nikkels Pieper, who won bronze medals at the British Championship and Junior Inter-Regional Regatta, and Alice Bradley, now on a full scholarship at Michigan State University.

Eddie Bryant, Durham School’s director of rowing, said: "He (Mr Dando) has grasped the opportunity to further his rowing and is training up to six days a week in preparation for a busy fixture list of regattas and competitions.

"His commitment to the sport is truly admirable."

In addition to his rigorous training schedule, Ed is also studying A Levels in Geography, Business and Economics, aiming to pursue a career as a lawyer.

He is also a trained Peer Mentor, offering vital support to other students across the wider Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation (DCSF), made up of Chorister School and Durham School.

Mr Dando said: "It’s nice to give something back to the school by helping others, the school has really developed me as a person - it’s a community here.”

The Burkitt Scholarship programme is responsible for offering more than 200 students across the North, from Northumberland to North Yorkshire, the opportunity to study at Durham School Sixth Form.

This scholarship provides support of up to 100 per cent fee remission, ensuring that the school is accessible to a wider range of families.

Mr Dando's mother, Lisa Dando, said: "He is thoroughly embracing the school ethos and values, and getting involved in many aspects of the school life.

“Everyone that Edward has contact with has treated him with respect and kindness making sure he works hard to get the very best experience of this wonderful opportunity.”

DCSF's wider bursaries and scholarships have benefited some 420 families, with around one in seven pupils attending on means-tested bursaries.

Andrew Beales, DCSF development director, said: "Bursaries at Durham Cathedral School Foundation are truly transformational.

"This financial assistance nurtures talents, promotes diversity and supports the development of the future leaders of society."