A SCHOOL basketball team who have been chosen to represent the UK need to raise £15,000 to do it.
Helsby High were picked to take part in the International School Sport Federation World Championships in April after they fielded strong Under 17 and U16 teams in the National Schools Championships.
The U17s won while the U16s were runners up and now a team containing players from both age groups is set to fly to Pau in France for eight days of basketball against some of the world's top teams.
But while representatives from other countries will be drawn from specialist highly-funded sports academies, Helsby is not and must fund itself somehow.
Head of PE Dennis Evans said: 'In the UK we are a laughing stock.
'We have a successful cross country team that has represented the UK before and taking them to compete was expensive.
'But when we got to the events and spoke to the other competitors, they found it astonishing and quite funny that we were a standard school without any extra funding.
'Their academies are so well off they can pay for students to compete. We can't and have to appeal for any phil-anthropists or well-wishers to make donations or fundraise in order to allow our pupils the chance to fulfil their promise and represent their country.
'It is a lot of money we need but it is necessary. As well as travel for the squad and accommodation we need kit, kit bags, money to pay for the inevitable luggage excess, various energy drinks and medical equipment in case of injury.
'It seems it will also cost us between £5,000 and £7,000 to hire a coach for the duration.'
Mr Evans added: 'We have a great headteacher in Richard Evans who is funding what he can and we have already got support from Amore Bistro in Frodsham and the MacArthur Glen Designer Outlet in Ellesmere Port, plus there are parents fundraising too but we are a long way from raising the money we need.
'There is also the matter of the rest of school. Nothing is cheap so parents are continually forking out.
'We need to find another way and in the absence of a multi-millionaire former pupil to give us money we must appeal to anyone who wants to help these boys go to represent their country.'
* If you would like to help fund the Helsby High students' trip, Dennis Evans on 01928 723551.