Swindon charity appeals for swimmers to make a splash and save lives
Swindon Swimmers Needed to Fundraise
Calling all swimmers! If you want to get fit and make a splash for children then one Swindon charity needs your help.
SwimTayka runs drowning prevention programmes around the globe and teaches children to swim. Now they’re looking for people to sign up for the annual Thames Marathon, planned for August 15.
SwimTayka is an official charity partner for the event, and has several free places to give away.
Organised by Henley Swim, the Thames Marathon is a 14km long-distance swim challenge from Henley-on-Thames to Marlow. It’s become one of open water swimming’s most prestigious marathon swims. It’s usually a sell-out. But by entering via SwimTayka swimmers can be sure of a place.
How to register for the event
Swimmers can register for a free place through SwimTayka, and commit to fundraising for the charity. Or they can buy a place direct from Henley Swim, but also take the opportunity to fundraise.
With the swimming lakes at Cotswold Water Park about to reopen, there’s plenty of time to train for the event. Although it’s an endurance event it caters both for fast swimmers and those who swim at a more leisurely pace.
Swindonian and keen open water swimmer Bryan Avery, founded SwimTayka in 2017. He started it when he realised how many young lives drowing claims.
‘In the UK we take learning to swim for granted, but this doesn’t happen in many countries,’ said Bryan. ‘Children living near open water are at severe risk of drowning. In fact, drowning is a silent epidemic. It claims an estimated 360,000 lives every year and is the third highest cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. These deaths are both wasted and preventable.
During this pandemic our work has never been more important as people gain respite in open water. And it’s a shame that that they don’t always have the skills they need.
SwimTayka runs programmes in locations as far flung as Mozambique, Peru and Brazil. They give free swimming lessons to children and teach them water stewardship, to teach them about caring for the environment.
Bryan said: ‘I set up SwimTayka as I’m driven to help children in low resource communities around the world, learn to swim. I tried to find a charity that already existed that we could support. But I found there was none that focused on swimming and giving free lessons. And so SwimTayka was born!”
The charity started with one project in Huanchaco, northern Peru, partnering with an established NGO based there.
“In a few weeks we had children confident with techniques to prevent drowning and loving every minute of it. Their sheer joy at realising they could swim made it all worthwhile,” Bryan said. ‘But like any charity, we need funds. That’s why we’re appealing for swimmers looking for a challenge who want to take part in the Thames Marathon, to book their place through us, and raise money for SwimTayka in sponsorship.’
Thames Marathon Director of Operations, Juliet Hume, said: “The demand for the Thames Marathon has always been huge. It’s an award-winning event with a reputation for offering a challenging, well-organised and beautiful swim. It’s great we can offer places to support this incredible charity.’