Swimathon turns 30

Swimathon, the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim is back for 2017 and swimmers across the UK are being encouraged to jump in to one of over 600 participating pools to raise vital funds for Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charity for people living with a terminal illness and their families. The event will take place across the weekend of 7-9 April and is extra special this year as Swimathon will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.

It all began in 1986 as a pilot programme for swimmers in London only. Since the launch of the annual event in 1988, nearly 700,000 participants have taken part and raised £46 million which has been distributed to 36 different charities. In this 30th Swimmers can challenge themselves to the 5km, 2.5km or 1.5km Individual swims or team events over 5km or 1.5km and raise funds for Marie Curie.

Olympic gold medalist Duncan Goodhew and the sporting soprano Laura Wright are heading up this year’s campaign, and are calling on people of all ages to set themselves the challenge and take to the water.

“For the last 29 years it has been a real joy to see Swimathon develop and mature into the great event it is today “ says Goodhew, who is also Swimathon President. “Nowadays there are thousands of well organised sports participation events, which raise money for charity but that wasn’t the case in 1988 when we launched the annual event. It really was ahead of its time, giving people a chance to get active and do some good at the same time. I am so proud of both Swimathon’s longevity and its legacy.”

Marie Curie is the official charity of Swimathon 2017. Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by providing hands-on nursing care and expert hospice care, emotional support, research and guidance to improve the way care is provided in the UK. Last year, Marie Curie cared for and supported over 50,000 people affected by terminal illness across the UK.

“I am delighted to be an ambassador for this year’s Swimathon” says Laura Wright, sporting soprano and official anthem singer for the England Rugby Team. “Sport and leading a healthy lifestyle is so important to me and Swimathon encourages people young and old to take part to get fit, healthy, and have fun. I want everyone taking part this year to support a friend or family member who is not in the best of health or at peak fitness and encourage them to also take part. Swimming is a sport with a real sense of community and I am looking forward to being a part and helping to raise funds for Marie Curie.”

In addition to main fundraising for Marie Curie, the Swimathon Foundation also provides grants of between £300 and £2,500 to organisations including swimming pools, operators, clubs, community organisations and charities that can demonstrate how funding will allow them to help more people participate in and enjoy swimming, and to make swimming more accessible. For further information, visit the Swimathon Foundation website at www.swimathonfoundation.org which also provides information about how to apply for a grant.

If you have questions about terminal illness, need support or just want to talk, call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309. It’s for anyone affected by terminal illness, including family and friends.

For further information about Swimathon including how to sign up visit: www.Swimathon.org.