A WATER-ski academy in Rossendale is going from strength to strength after securing the rights to run a range of sports at a valley beauty spot.

The Waterski and Boarding Academy, at Cowm Reservoir, between Bacup and Whitworth, has just staged an inter-club challenge.

Competitors from across the north-west took to the waters for a range of disciplines, ranging from wakeboarding to slalom, disc-skiing and sit-skiiing.

The academy came into being after the demise of the former Whitworth Water Ski for the Disabled, which was based at the suite but folded in 2012.

Reservoir owners United Utilities invited informal tenders, in an effort to maintain sporting activities at Cowm, and a group of enthusiasts came together to form the winning bid.

Supporters say that they were inspired by the efforts of their fellow ‘skiers’ at the other end of the valley, who took on Ski Rossendale as a social enterprise.

And under their honorary president Dr Janet Gray, a former world disabled champion, and Nick McGarry, a former British champion and north-west chairman for British Water Skiiing, they have not looked back.

Their aims have been to provide an ‘affordable’ entry into water-skiiing and wakeboarding at the reservoir, for both able-bodied and disabled athletes, while offering development opportunities for coaches, instructors and judges.

Academy officials have pledged to work closely with United Utilities, Rossendale Council, Whitworth Town Council, Lancashire County Council, British Water Ski and Wakeboard (BWSW), British Disabled Water Ski and Wakeboard (BDWSW ) Sport England and Sports Coach UK to make the venture a success.