MARATHON runners have provided the children of a Winslow school with a new minibus.

Rowden House School, for pupils with severe learning disabilities, has been awarded a Variety Club Sunshine Coach, funded by the club's London Marathon Team 2003.

The school has 28 children but the bus it already has can only carry eight passengers.

The new vehicle means the number of children able to go on trips will be doubled.

Headteacher Heather Hardy said: "One of the things we want to do is give children as much access to the wider community as possible.

"The bus will be used to take them swimming, to the cinema, church and library."

A new minibus would have cost the school around £25,000 but it only had to contribute £9,000 to the cost of the Sunshine Coach.

"It's tremendous," said Mrs Hardy.

Marathon runners and members of Variety Club Midlands will present the bus to the school on Wednesday, January 28.

Mrs Hardy said plans to extend the capacity of the school were going well after planning permission was granted last year. She said designs for the new activity area and 14-bed residential unit had been agreed and the contract for the construction should be put out to tender by the end of the month.

The school is currently applying to the Department for Education and Skills for permission to accommodate another 14 children when the new unit is completed.