Youngsters tell us why they took part in Swim the Distance challenge

Last month saw the return of our Swim the Distance challenge, where we invited people to swim a distance of their choice throughout the month, to raise money for the hospice.

Sponsored by Home + Castle Estate Agents and AFH Payroll Ltd, 21 people took on the challenge, and have so far raised around £5,000 all together. What’s more, they covered at least 225km between them, which is the equivalent of swimming the distance between Eastbourne and Coventry!

Two of our wonderful participants are aged nine and 12, and we wanted to find out what inspired them to take part.

Angel has just turned 12 and was raising money in memory of her Aunty, who was looked after by the hospice Care at Home Team. Swimming is a real strength for Angel, who has significant learning disabilities and other health issues such as epilepsy. Her goal was to raise £300 but with the support of family, friends, and her Summerdown School community, she reached over £400.

Angel said: ‘St Wilfrid’s nurses and doctors helped us to look after my Aunty when she was very poorly. We were able to keep her at home with us so we could give her a hug goodbye when she went to heaven. I liked having the nurses visit us and they would let me sit next to my Aunty when they were fixing her syringe and her medicines.’

Angel has swimming lessons and has passed Grade 8. She mainly swims at David Lloyd but also at the Sovereign Centre with swimming teacher Helen, who was very encouraging when she heard Angel was doing the challenge.

‘I love being in the pool,’ Angel said. ‘We thought I could swim about 15Km in the month, but I actually did more than 21km. We swam 4-5 times a week depending on how busy we were, and went straight after school.

‘I did 100m and then played for a bit and then another 100m and then played again so that it wasn’t too much. I tried to swim at least 1km each time. It was tiring but I really like swimming so didn’t find it too much of a challenge, but my mum really did, as she did it with me,’ Angel said.

‘I really enjoyed the challenge. I feel good that I did more than I thought I could and raised more money.’

Angel’s family regularly take part in our fundraising events and visit the hospice to see the memory leaf which is on display for her Aunty. ‘It’s nice for us to think and talk about her,’ Angel said.

Angel’s proud Mum, Serene, said: ‘Angel’s one interest and strength in life is swimming, so it was lovely that she could do this in memory of her Aunty, who she still misses. Her swimming teacher was super encouraging too, and we may even one day get to the national para-swimming competitions.’

Another of our fantastic swimmers is nine-year-old Alice. When Alice saw Swim the Distance being promoted at the Sovereign Centre and learnt what a hospice does, she was keen to take part.

‘I like to challenge myself and help people in need,’ Alice said. ‘I have always been a keen swimmer but through March I improved a lot with my swimming and have realised I want to continue it with a club.’

Alice achieved her target distance of 15km, the same distance as the length of Lake Windermere, by swimming at the Sovereign Centre three times a week. ‘I mixed it up and did between 40 to 60 lengths each time. It was very tiring, and I also had to manage school work and all my other clubs,’ Alice said.

Alice’s target was to raise £200, but she beat that, reaching over £260. ‘Even though I got very tired I feel very proud that I met my goal,’ she said. Her parents Glenn and Michelle, added: ‘Alice has really worked hard to complete the challenge and she’s amazed that she managed to raise more than £200.’

We’d like to say a big thank you to Angel, Alice, and all the other participants for taking on our Swim the Distance challenge and supporting hospice care.

Pictured: Angel and Alice

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