4th March 2010
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Well after some research I am able to tell you that the first Lions Club of Jersey Swimarathon took place in 1972 and the event in 2010 will be the 39th consecutive event.  The concept was the brain-child of a fundraising committee led by the then Lion. In those early days it was actually called the “Swimathon” but common usage soon dictated that it should become the Swimarathon.  

The first Swimarathon lasted two days and raised just over £4,000 a considerable sum in those times.  Then as now swimmers swam in turn for 55 minutes although most were sponsored per lap rather than by donation.  When, in 1973, the sum raised was £15,000 the Lions recognised they were on to a winner.  And a winner it proved to be and a world-beater, being featured for several years in the Guinness Books of Records for the greatest amount of money raised from sponsored swimming at a single event.

To date the Swimarathon has raised more than two million pounds for charity, most of which has been spent in the Island.

Moneys from the Swimarathon and other fund-raisers have been used for building an indoor swimming pool for the handicapped, a day care centre for children, a day car centre for the elderly, establishing a hospital radio service and supporting many other local and international charities including major donations to Channel Islands Air Search which was founded by the Lions Club of Guernsey.

Once of the major beneficiaries of funds raised by swimmers has been the Lions’ own project of the Maison Des Landes Hotel for the Handicapped which was adopted by the Lions as a major project for their fund-raising as long ago as 1965.  Today the hotel offers disabled visitors to Jersey the unique opportunity to enjoy a holiday just as much as anyone else.  In addition, thanks to the generosity of the swimmers and their team sponsors, each year the Lions offer up to three weeks free holidays to local residents who might, for whatever reason, not be able to enjoy a break in a hotel in any other circumstances.  This is just one way that the Lions ensure that moneys raised in the local community benefit those less fortunate in it.

In 2009 a record £135,00 was raised. This year 450 teams are entered and approx 3,000 islanders, young and old will be swimming – what a fantastic community event ! The main charities selected to benefit from this years event are Holidays for Heroes Jersey and the Jersey Special Gymnastics Club.

The Swimarathon is being sponsored for the fourth consecutive year by RBC Wealth Management and again this year the organisation has 14 teams donning their swim gear. Paul Patterson, Head of RBC Wealth Management, British Isles, will be among the swimmers. ‘The Swimarathon is an amazing event which involves and benefits the wider community in Jersey. We are delighted to take part both as sponsors and swimmers.’

About the Author

Kevin S

Member since: 9th July 2012

Hello and welcome to thebestof Jersey blog, I hope that both locals and visitors to the island will become involved. Please let us know about local businesses that go that extra mile and about things...

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