Blyth father encourages people to make a splash to help charities

A Blyth man and his fundraising champion mother are urging people to take the plunge and help charities.
Steve with mam Carol Proud, who are encouraging people to sign up to the Swimathon Festival.Steve with mam Carol Proud, who are encouraging people to sign up to the Swimathon Festival.
Steve with mam Carol Proud, who are encouraging people to sign up to the Swimathon Festival.

Endurance swimmer Steve Proud is encouraging people to sign up for the Swimathon Festival 2021 in aid of Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.

The 49-year-old swam the English Channel in August 2019 as part of his bucket list and raised nearly £7,000 for Cancer Research UK.

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He was inspired by his mam Carol Proud, 75, who has been raising money for the charity for 31 years as part of the Blyth Cancer Research UK Fundraising Committee.

Steve Proud swimming the English Channel.Steve Proud swimming the English Channel.
Steve Proud swimming the English Channel.

After stopping swimming when he went to college, Steve picked the hobby back up when he was in his 30s and started taking part in triathlons and endurance events like Ironman.

He then set his sights on swimming the English Channel, spending 18 months training for the 21 mile swim.

Steve said: “It took 11 hours and 37 minutes to swim solo.

"Even though my dad in the support boat said I came quite close to some ships and a seal joined me for some of the route, but once I was in the water I never saw a thing.”

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Carol added: “It was no surprise that he wanted to take on this challenge, but it was terrifying when he was actually doing it. We’re incredibly proud of him.”

After a challenging year for many swimmers who’ve missed out during the pandemic, Steve is now encouraging others to take on their own challenge and make a splash by taking part in the world’s largest annual swimming fundraiser.

Organisers are set to celebrate a festival of swimming from September 10 to 12 with Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon events taking place at pools and venues across the North East and UK.

People can participate individually or as part of a team or sign up to MySwimathon, which takes place from September 3 to 19 and choose a time and venue that suits them.

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Steve said: “My swimming challenge was massive, but you don’t need to be a super swimmer to take part in this.

"The Swimathon Festival offers a variety of distances for all ages and abilities.

"Swimathon is a fun and simple way to encourage people to dip their toe in the water and get swimming – all while supporting two incredible charities.”

Carol is hoping people will be able to give fundraising a boost especially as the Blyth Committee celebrates its 60th year this year and having reached an incredible £500,000 milestone for Cancer Research UK.

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Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North East, said: “The Swimathon Festival offers a challenge for all open water or pool swimmers whether they’re early divers or evening dippers, fast lane speedsters or leisurely lappers.

“There are lots of great benefits to taking part, not least the chance to enjoy the water while raising money for causes which are close to the hearts of so many.”

Mark Winton, Head of Community Fundraising at Marie Curie, said: “We’re so excited that pools have re-opened and people can once again take the plunge and make a splash while helping raise vital donations for Marie Curie.”

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