Wednesday, 02 September 2015

Barrow fundraisers swim 26 miles for charity

BARROW played host to a pyjama party with a difference as swimmers young and old took to the pool in their nightwear to raise money for charity.

Dozens of participants stroked strongly, paddled pluckily or floundered feebly under the weight of their pyjamas to complete as many laps as possible in 30 minutes on Saturday.

The novel event attracted about 50 swimmers who collectively swam 1,663 lengths – or 26 miles – at The Park leisure centre.

Swimmers raised £1,300, which in part will be used to buy a portable cardiogram machine for use at Furness General Hospital in Barrow.

The fundraiser was conceived last year by Barrow Amateur Swimming Club committee members as a fun way to support the British Heart Foundation.

Co-organiser Marianne Stables said a health scare for one of the coaches at the club had highlighted all the good work the foundation did in the community.

“We thought this time of year would be a good time to hold it because a lot of people would have made it their new year’s resolution to get fit,” she said.

Barbara Dunn, the British Heart Foundation’s fundraising volunteer manager for South Lakes, said she was delighted at the club’s support.

No stranger to the water after being a swimming instructor for 20 years, she said exercise played a key part in the prevention of heart disease.

“If you enjoy doing a particular sort of exercise, then you are more likely to continue with it,” she said.

“Exercise is very, very important no matter what age you are.”

Miss Stables’ daughter, Abigail Buchanan, of Newbarns Primary School, was one of many eager young entrants to take to the water.

The hearing impaired 10-year-old, who is a regular at competitions around the country, said her aim on the day was simply to swim further than her mum – and did so, by one length.

Fellow organiser Simon Churchman said the idea behind having entrants tackle the challenge in pyjamas was simply to add an extra degree of difficulty.

He said: “We thought ‘how can we make this harder?’ The pyjamas will create a lot of drag in the water and make it much harder for them.”

Teenager Andrew Kerr topped the leaderboard with a remarkable 90 lengths in 30 minutes.

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