September 23rd, 2016

Taking the plunge for a fine cause

Updated: 5:34 pm, Aug 11, 2016

THIRTY-SEVEN Redditch Swimming Club members joined forces to ‘swim the Avon’ for a fine cause.

Town swimmers lined up on the starting blocks at the Abbey Stadium to collectively swim a distance equal to the length of the River Avon in an annual fund-raiser in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

From its source near Naesby in Northamptonshire to where the Avon joins the River Severn at Tewkesbury, the River Avon stretches for 137 kilometres.

The Avon was chosen to recognise the 400-year anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and was seen as a challenging target for the club’s annual fund-raiser.

By the end of the event the swimmers had swam a collective total of 8,480 lengths of the pool – equating to reaching the mouth of the Avon then swimming back upstream past Stratford and almost reaching Warwick – a fantastic distance of 212 kilometres.

Around £1,400 has been pledged, which will be shared equally between Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the swimming club.

Wesleyan Group, which sponsors the swimming club, has agreed to match the funds raised for the hospital up to £1,000.

Paul Hartland, vice-chairman of the club, said: “Swimmers from as young as seven swam from 80 lengths to some of them swimming up to 300 lengths of the pool.

“The event is full of energy and excitement. A six-metre long chart showing the course of the Avon was used to plot progress.

“Watching parents cheered when the swimmers reached key milestones and even more loudly when the swimmers (metaphorically) turned around and started to swim upstream.

“Even with all the physical exertion the event was fantastic fun, with all swimmers reaching or exceeding their individual targets.”

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