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PHOTO GALLERY: Making a big splash at first Mansfield Charity Swimathon

Posted onPosted on 17th Oct

The first Charity Swimathon organised by the Rotary Club of Mansfield and the Armchair Club has been hailed a success.

Past president of the Rotary Club and one of the organisers, Denise Starkey, said: “What a fantastic event it was. I cannot thank everyone involved enough, the volunteers, spectators and especially the swimmers, who took to the water and made this event extremely successful.

“Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves with lots of fun and many sponsored lengths were swum throughout the evening.

“I am really looking forward to Swimathon 2020 as this is certainly going to become an annual event for Mansfield Rotary and the Armchair Club, which allows us to continue supporting local charities and organisations in our community and sport stars of the future.”

Mansfield’s Olympic swimming champion, Rebecca Adlington, who was unable to attend, added: “The swimathon looked like it was a huge success.

“I’m so glad everyone got involved and enjoyed raising money whilst doing something active and healthy.

“It’s a brilliant cause and I’m sure this will continue for many years.”

The event was started by the president of the Rotary Club, John Bilzon, who was the first to take the plunge. “We had a great evening and have laid down some firm foundations, we now need to build on them,” he said.

The swimathon was held at the Water Meadows Swimming and Fitness Complex, Mansfield — with Education Mutual and HW Martin Waste Ltd the sponsors.

Commonwealth Games swimmer Elliot Clogg and Paralympic medallist Charlotte Henshaw ­— who has switched to Paracanoe after a successful career as a swimmer — supported the event by taking part.

Sponsorship was based on the number of lengths swum in a 15-minute time slot by swimmers, who could also be supported through a fixed sum.

Half of the money raised by each team of up to six went to their chosen cause — an organisation or charity — with the other 50% being shared by Mansfield Rotary Club Benevolent Fund and the Armchair Club Sports Foundation Trust. The Armchair Club is a group of local businessmen who have been providing financial support for local sports people since 1982.

Elliot said he enjoyed taking part in such an event in its infancy to support the Armchair Club, whose financial backing when he was younger made participating in training camps abroad more possible.

He was surprised to be able to clock up 62 lengths in his 15 minute window while not generally going at a competitive pace.

Charlotte added: “The support I have received from the people of Mansfield has been amazing throughout my career and I think it’s part of my job to give back to the people who have supported me thus far.”

Geoff Waller, chairman of the Mansfield District Leisure Trust, which operates the Water Meadows complex, said: “Mansfield District Leisure Trust is delighted to have been able to support Mansfield Rotary Club and the Armchair Club in the organising the first Swimathon in Mansfield.

“The trust is confident that the event will prove to be successful in the years ahead in raising money in support of local charities and sports clubs.”

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