The Lions Club of Haywards Heath held its 32nd annual charity fund raising Swimarathon on Good Friday, 3rd April, at the Dolphin Centre which, over the years has raised in excess of £330,000.
Last year’s major beneficiary was Canine Partners, a Sussex based charity that provides assistance dogs to give practical day to day help with tasks that may be difficult, painful or impossible to perform. The money raised last year through the generosity of the people from Haywards Heath and surrounding areas has provided 5 assistance dogs for people living in our locality – a tremendous achievement by all those teams who took part.
The beneficiary of this year’s 32nd Swimarathon is SERV, Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers – a group of 140 volunteer bike riders who provide a free and reliable service to NHS hospitals in Haywards Heath, Brighton, Worthing, Chichester, Eastbourne and Hastings. SERV Sussex collects and delivers lifesaving blood, blood products, X-rays, patient notes, laboratory samples and breast milk to hospitals at night and is totally self-funded.
This year, with the help of the 66 teams who swam in teams of six for 55 minutes each hour, from 08.00 to 19.00, Haywards Heath Lions Club has received pledges in excess of £13,000, of which 50% of the final figure raised by the teams that swam will be donated to SERV to enable them to raise enough funds to go towards the provision of an additional bike, which will cost around £15,000. The other 50% will be retained by the teams for their own good causes.
The service that SERV provides - delivering a variety of blood and milk products to help save and maintain lives — is an essential part of the NHS and given is it self-funded, is in need of as much support as possible. You never know when you might need it!
A great day was had by all who took part and during the last hour of the day, a team from the Haywards Heath Swimming Club, “Marlins Top Squids”, set a new pool record of 250 lengths in 55 minutes – a staggering achievement.
Haywards Heath Lions Club would like to thank our sponsors - Nuffield Health Haywards Heath Hospital, Sussex Injury Clinics and Mike Oliver Associates – who have generously towards the cost of hiring the venue, the purchase of medals and the raffle prizes. Haywards Heath Lions would also like to thank all the swimmers who take part and raise sponsorship for SERV Sussex and their own organisations including the staff at The Dolphin Leisure Centre who were provided fantastic support on the day. If you are interested in taking part on Good Friday next year to raise money for your own good cause, then please contact the Lions on 0845 833 5807 or visit our Swimarathon website at www.hhlionsswim.co.uk for further information.
Report and picture contributed by Haywards Heath Lions Club.