Horwich Leisure Centre is celebrating another successful Swimathon, the world’s largest annual fundraising swim event, with two men connected with the pool particularly proud of their 5km and over £650 contribution.
Tom Hampson and Chris Jackson work for Serco Leisure, which runs Horwich on behalf of Bolton Community Leisure Trust and Bolton Council, and this year they took the plunge and decided to sign up for event. In the process, they raised over £650 for Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK.
Tom was a keen swimmer in his youth so he took to the training needed like a duck to water. Chris’ story is a little more involved though and includes making massive lifestyle changes, following the news he received in June last year, when he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
Chris takes over the story:
“I was sporty when I was young but typically, I had done less and less as I got older. I was overweight, around 18 stone plus, eating all the wrong food and enjoyed socialising, which inevitably meant alcohol. At the same time, I was doing very little exercise other than working and walking to the pub!
“On Monday 18 June 2018, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. That week I made some life decisions. Firstly, I stopped drinking alcohol. Secondly, I totally changed my diet and cooking habits. Thirdly, I decided to try to get fit and back into some of my earlier passions, like swimming and cycling. I am now consistently swimming 2.5 miles per week over two sessions of 80 lengths usually at the great pool we’ve got at Horwich Leisure Centre.
“To date I’ve lost around 3.5 stone, but I’m going to keep on pushing to lose more. Swimathon was a great way to stay focused on my fitness. I did a lot of good for myself, but just as importantly between me and Tom, we raised money for two of the most deserving charities out there.
“With more exercise, and a continuation of my new overall healthier lifestyle, I’m hoping to reduce the amount of medication I currently take for my Diabetes.”
“As an ex-club swimmer, Swimathon was a good way for me to rekindle my love of the sport. It’s easy to enter, so I’d definitely recommend it to people. You can do it as a group, breaking up the distance, and it’s a great day out with everyone supporting each other.
“I’d like to thank the team at Horwich, but in particular Gary Callow at the centre who urged me to get involved. It’s a good feeling to know myself and Chris have raised all this money for causes which affect so many of us.
“We’ll be back next year, with a longer distance and hopefully more money raised!”
This year, at Swimathon over 38 million lengths were swam by those taking part, and over £180,000 was raised for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie. Swimathon encourages people to sign up by putting a price on many of the key activities the money raised will go towards. Examples being: £20 pays for one hour of nursing care for someone with a terminal illness in their own home, and £30 will cover the cost of running a cervical cancer trial for one day.
For details of all swimming sessions across Bolton Community Leisure Trust sites, visit its website: https://www.boltonleisure.com/ And to find out about Swimathon and sign up for next year, go here: https://swimathon.org/