The RNLI ‘Respect the Water’ campaign

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Despite the best efforts of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s volunteer crews and lifeguards –  Did you know that around 150 people still lose their lives around the UK coast each year, and around 80% are men?

….And are you aware that cold water shock occurs in water less than 15 degrees, but the average UK sea temperature is just 12?

Pictured L-R Back - Virginia Billcliff (RNLI Volunteer), Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and Dan Gurr (RNLI Volunteer).

Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and RNLI volunteers Supporting Respect the Water campaign. Picture by Brighton Togs http://www.brightontogs.com

You may also be surprised to know that just one metre cubed of water weighs a tonne, and that is not a lot of water. Although as water safety professionals some of this may seem obvious, our research shows that many of those most at risk underestimate such facts, and therefore put themselves in situations of increased and unnecessary risk.

These findings underpinned a new RNLI coastal safety campaign called ‘Respect the Water’ last summer to help raise awareness about dangers of drowning and general risks around the coast. The campaign was piloted in the South-East of England during August and was launched in Brighton by England rugby star James Haskell who kindly gave his time for free to support the RNLI.

The campaign consisted of traditional outdoor posters and PR activity, but also a combination of radio adverts, digital banners and specially designed pint glasses and beer mats to warn about the dangers of drinking and swimming. An experiential road show visited three key locations and included a custom built ‘tonne of water’ and water filled punch bag to engage with adult men, those who are most at risk of drowning.  The campaign used facts, real stories and local content to it interesting and relevant, challenging that alpha male bravado which is often associated with keeping safe around water. Even though you are tough and strong, could you push yourself against a tonne of water, or how long could you fight against the water, the opponent that will never tire?

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water.

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water. Picture by Brighton Togs www.brightontogs.com

We are proud to announce the pilot won three prestigious DMA awards (Direct Marketing Association) in December, with gold for best use of experiential, two bronze for best media strategy and best use of copy, and a nomination for best creative solution. The campaign was completing against international brands such as Virgin Holidays, 02, Honda, Unicef, Unilever, EE and IBM to name a few, so we are delighted with such recognition so early on in the development of the campaign.

The plan for 2014 is to increase coverage to a national scale around the coastline of the UK, with focused activity in up to ten locations identified by the RNLI as areas of significant risk and a high number of incidents.

Written by: Ross MacLeod, Coastal Safety Manager (Marketing), the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

NWSF News & Updates September ’13

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline is fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013. Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others. The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The report will be presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference at the NEC on Saturday, 26th October. Read more or report an incident: http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1046&sectionTitle=Incident+Reporting

#SAVEWAVE: A Wave of support that put RNLI rescue stories in front of 1.8M people
The RNLI’s #SAVEWAVE campaign has been running during the summer months. A simple idea of allowing the RNLI to post stories over your Twitter/ Facebook profiles to your followers has created a campaign that reached 1.8 million people. Over the 7 week period, the RNLI posted the week’s most dramatic rescues across social media on behalf of the 6,000 strong campaign’s supporters. #SaveWave, has quickly helped build awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving work. RNLI volunteers rescue, on average 150 people every week. See the #SAVEWAVE video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAONhO4aZXQ&feature=youtu.be
More ways to support the RNLI: http://rnli.org/howtosupportus/Pages/How-to-support-us.aspx

Before you book your next dive holiday, check out BSAC Trip Reports
Malta, Gozo, Orkney Islands and Marsa Shagra are the latest dive destinations to be covered by the BSAC Trip Reports, written and submitted by travelling divers and now available online. An invaluable port of call if you are starting to plan your next big dive trip, the reports are part of the BSAC Trip report service, which hosts hundreds of first-hand dive holiday accounts, both in the UK and worldwide. Written by BSAC members, Trip Reports provide uncensored testimonies on the best – and not so great – holiday experiences to help you make up your mind. Check out the Trip Reports section where you will also find guidance on how to submit your own holiday report.
Trip Reports: http://www.bsac.com/news.asp?itemid=13313&itemTitle=Before+you+book+your+next+dive+holiday%2C+check+out+BSAC+Trip+Reports&section=56&sectionTitle=News&month=9&year=2013

Swansea and Stirling’s elite swimming centres under threat
British Swimming has given the strongest indication yet that centres of excellence in Swansea and Stirling could lose their International Training Centre (ITC) status.
The sport suffered a £4,000,000 funding cut after winning just three of their five targeted medals at London 2012. The centres at Loughborough and Bath are believed to be safe. British Swimming has been investigating ways of reducing operating costs since suffering the funding cut. The sport had operated five ITCs in the build up to London 2012, but the one at Stockport was axed in February. Talks with representatives from both threatened centres are on-going, but those from Swansea will meet with British Swimming officials for a crucial meeting about their situation next week.
Scottish Swimming says it is working hard with British Swimming and is in constant dialogue with their counterparts over the future of the centre in Stirling. It stresses that, while the review is underway, preparations for Scottish swimmers using the facility at Stirling will not be affected and it is business as usual. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/wales/23962233

MPs to debate Coastguard’s report
Westminster Hall debate: The Coastguard, Emergency towing vessels and the Maritime incident response group – Follow up. The Westminster Hall debate will be on Thursday 17th October in Westminster Hall at 13.30. The debate will discuss the Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2012-13.
Having secured changes to the Government’s original proposals, saving some stations from closure and keeping all remaining stations as 24-hour operations, the Coastguard service report, receiving worrying information about the impact of recent reforms.
The report focuses on changes to the Coastguard Service, and draws considerable attention to the problems of; low morale and the loss of experienced staff with exemplary local knowledge – which came through station closure and amalgamation. The report will be the subject of the first debate of the afternoon, before a debate on a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/coastguards—wh-debate/

NWSF News & Updates June ’13

HRH The Duke of Cambrige, calls for school swimming to be accessible for all children
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge and patron of the English Schools Swimming Association, has recorded a short video calling for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools.
The video has been released following the largest ever investigation into school swimming by the ASA that revealed more than half of children aged 7-11 years cannot swim 25 metres unaided. This equates to 1.1 million children that are unable to be safe in and around water

“The ASA has a belief – a vision, which I share – that every child has the right to learn to swim” – His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge.
In the video he goes onto say: “Swimming is unique – it is the only sport that can save lives – which is why I’m so keen for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools. The ability to swim changes lives – it brings huge joy and it can keep us fit and healthy. But above all, it can keep us safe, which is why I’m pleased to lend my support to this campaign.”

The ASA, for their report entitled “Learning the Lesson – the future of school swimming”, surveyed 3,501 schools on how many of their children have attained Key Stage 2 swimming requirements. It found that half of children aged seven to eleven cannot swim the length of a typical swimming pool (25 metres) unaided, despite swimming being a compulsory element of the national curriculum.

David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the ASA said “The ASA’s vision is that that every child should have the right and opportunity to learn to swim to help achieve a fitter, healthier and perhaps above all a safer generation of young people. I am delighted that His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge supports this vision and has provided support to our campaign.
“I am in no doubt that this support will help drive awareness around the importance of swimming, a life saving skill, being accessible to every child in primary school.”
Download a copy of the ASA Learning the Lesson: The Future of School Swimming 2013 Census: 2013 School Swimming Census
This report is about a belief – a vision – that every child has the right and opportunity to learn to swim to help achieve a fitter, healthier and perhaps above all a safer generation of young people. It is about mapping – on an unprecedented scale – the reality of school swimming in 2013 and using that insight to learn lessons and help to safeguard its future.
Read the full article: http://www.swimming.org/asa/news/school-swimming/hrh-the-duke-of-cambridge-records-video-message-outlining-importance-of-tea/17289/
Watch the full video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs7kBpGm8GM&feature=youtu.be

Fishing vessel firm showed “blatant disregard for safety”
A fishing vessel company and its two directors have been ordered to pay nearly £150,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to several breaches of maritime safety regulations. TN Trawlers Ltd and directors, Thomas Iain Nicholson and Christopher John Nicholson, were prosecuted after a number of defects were found on vessels owned by the firm.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspected the Olivia Jean in the port of Shoreham in November 2009 and detained the vessel due to a number of defects, including an out of date Intermediate Survey and Radio Survey. In addition, no crew qualifications or safety training details were available. After being released, the vessel travelled to the Netherlands for a refit and survey but in January 2010, it was again inspected by the MCA and further defects were identified, including unauthorised additions and modifications to the vessel. According to the MCA, there were also concerns about the condition of other parts of the vessel where maintenance was described as “very poor”.

An investigation by the MCA Enforcement Unit was launched, which highlighted other problems, including the vessel carrying more deck cargo than permitted in its stability information. In November 2009 the Philomena and Georgelou N were observed by the Channel Navigation Information Service failing to cross the south west lane of the Dover Straits Traffic Separation Scheme at right angles, contrary to regulations designed to avoid collisions. The Philomena was later inspected by the MCA and 27 defects were discovered leading to the vessel being detained.

The Georgelou N was inspected after becoming grounded in the River Mersey following mechanical failure in April 2011. The MCA identified problems with crew certification and numbers onboard being more than permitted by the amount of safety equipment. A further inspection in July 2011 highlighted problems with crew certification, safety training and the Intermediate Survey for the vessels safety certificate was overdue. The vessel Tobrach N was also detained after the MCA found that it had been to sea despite its safety certificate having expired two months previously. The company and directors were ordered to pay a total of £147,465 in fines and costs. His Honour Judge Ralls QC said: “The numbers of injuries and deaths at sea are concerning”.

The likelihood of death is greater than in the agricultural or construction industry. Fishing vessels operate in a harsh and uncompromising environment. Great care needs to be taken in that vessels are in a safe condition at all times.
“It is the owner’s responsibility to those that they employ.” Captain Jeremy Smart, Head of Enforcement for the MCA, said: “TN Trawlers and its directors failed to heed previous warnings and advice from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The standard of care was far below what is expected, and the failings could have led to loss of life or serious injury. “This blatant disregard for safety standards is one of the worst that the MCA has come across in past years and we are pleased that this view has been supported by the sentence of the court. “The fishing industry is well known for its high levels of risk and dangers. Accordingly proper attention to health and safety matters is of the very highest importance in the industry and a few poorly managed vessels can give the industry a bad name. “We will not tolerate this behaviour where financial gain seems to be more important than the value of human life.”
Taken from: The RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health journal.

Fishing safety resource
A new website offering information to fishermen on the location of subsea cables and renewable energy structures has been launched.

The Kingfisher Information Service – Offshore Renewable and Cable Awareness project (KIS-ORCA) is a joint initiative between Subsea Cables UK and Renewable UK and is being managed by the Kingfisher Information Service of the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish), which is a non-departmental public body whose mission is to support the seafood industry to work for a sustainable, profitable future. The KIS-ORCA website aims to offer free, accurate, up-to-date information to fishermen on the location of cables and renewable structures such as wind farms. As well as being available online, the positional information will also be supplied to fishermen on CD in a format compatible with their on-board fishing plotter systems by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations.

In addition to an interactive map, the website includes information on subsea cables, renewable energy, links to operators and safety advice on reducing the risks of fishing near cables and renewable energy structures, with emergency contact numbers. A range of awareness charts are also available to download. Matt Frow, manager of Kingfisher, said: “We recognise the concerns of the fishing industry around expanding offshore operations. We believe http://www.kis-orca.eu and the associated charts and plotter data, will provide fishermen with essential information to remain safe whilst undertaking their fishing activities. We will continue to work closely with all offshore industries to develop and improve the information that we provide to the fishing industry.”
Access the website at: http://www.kis-orca.eu.

Cross-party group calls for action to tackle school swimming
A cross-party group of MPs and peers is calling for the Government to tackle the concerning numbers of children unable to swim. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Sport, chaired by Gerry Sutcliffe MP (and supported by umbrella body the Sport and Recreation Alliance), met in Parliament today to highlight the issue.
Group members including Baroness Grey-Thompson, Ian Austin MP, Andrew Bingham MP and Charlotte Leslie MP were present to show their support. It was an opportunity for David Sparkes, chief executive of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), to present the findings of its biggest ever investigation into school swimming. Figures show that more than half (51%) of children aged 7 to 11 years cannot swim 25 metres unaided, despite the fact that swimming is a national curriculum requirement. Almost 45% of schools stated that the biggest barrier to delivering better quality school swimming was budget constraints. Where schools are achieving high attainment rates amongst their pupils it is attributed to better pupil to teacher ratios, longer lesson times and a higher number of lessons offered.
David Sparkes, chief executive of the ASA said: “Many young children engage in organised sport for the first time at school – and this is also when many will make their first visit to a swimming pool. Without school swimming we know that many children would not have the opportunity to learn this life-saving skill, or take part in one of the easiest and enjoyable forms of physical activity for young people. I welcomed the opportunity to our present our findings to the All Parliamentary Group for Sport today, as well as discuss how some of the insight can help safeguard its future. The ASA is keen to work with Government to ensure this vital national curriculum subject is delivered to a high standard”.

Andy Reed, chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “Being able to swim is a basic skill like running, catching and jumping – one of the core building blocks for a lifetime of activity. “If half of our seven- to 11-year-olds can’t swim, they are going to be cut off from a whole range of other activities from sailing, canoeing and rowing to water skiing, scuba diving and surfing. We need to start changing our approach to swimming and we welcome the political will we’ve seen today to try and put this into action.”

In response to the findings, APPG for Sport member Charlotte Leslie MP has tabled an early day motion, rallying MPs and Peers to sign up and get behind the cause. The motion is calling for closer OFSTED monitoring to ensure that primary schools provide more evidence and show greater commitment to their swimming programmes. The opportunity for the recently announced £150 million of ring-fenced spending for primary school sport to be used to improve these attainment levels will also be emphasised.

Charlotte Leslie MP said: “As a youngster I spent hours ploughing up and down the pool in my bid to become an Olympic swimmer. Although I never made it to the Olympics, swimming has played a key role in making me who I am.
“For many young people schools will offer the first opportunity to learn to swim, and it’s vital that Head Teachers get the support and information they need to deliver this important life skill.”
Read the: Early Day Motion #160

The ASA & Swimming.org release: Nutrition and diet advice for swimmers

A healthy diet is vital and can help to make the most of your time in the swimming pool. Good nutrition and a healthy diet are cornerstones of improving as a swimmer and getting the most benefit from your time in the water. In the article you’ll find a range of advice on what to eat and when, whether you are a casual swimmer, swimming to manage your weight or training hard for a competition. Read the full article on the swimming.org website…
The information is provided as part of the ‘Swimfit’ program, for more information go to; http://www.swimming.org/swimfit

A fun day had by all at the first ‘Big Bay Dip’

The Surf Life Saving GB event ‘Big Bay Dip’ charity swim open water swim event was at Broadsands in Paignton, on Sunday 29th July, in which 65 swimmers took part. The inaugural Big Bay Dip gave inexperienced swimmers as well as those who enjoy open water swimming regularly, a chance to take part in a unique event for charity. Read more on the SLGB website…

ASA launch the new ‘Go Swimming!’ resource

Exciting new resource for everyone who wants to ‘Go Swimming’!. Help inspire more people to Go Swimming today. Join in getting ready for the Games and encourage everyone to visit swimming.org/go, the brand new online companion launched by the ASA. Quite simply, it provides everything a person needs to know about taking part in aquatics. If you have been inspired by our athletes to find out more about swimming and its disciplines, you will discover some great features, including an easy-to-use Poolfinder tool where they can check out details of the clubs and centres nearest to them. Encourage everyone to share in the mounting excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games with us as we provide all the information needed to enjoy all elements of aquatic sports:

  • An easy to use ‘Poolfinder’ tool to locate the nearest pools, view their facilities, clubs and contact details
  • Clear, concise guidance on how and why to join a club including routes on getting into and trying out water polo, synchronised swimming and diving
  • Exciting, not-to-be-missed content such as tips on improving swimming from the experts, exclusive video excerpts and interviews with Team GB heroes
  • How to get more involved in swimming, from volunteering or officiating through to starting a brand new career as a teacher or coach
  • Guidance and advice for everyone: adults, parents, under 16s, the disabled, existing swimmers or those completely new to aquatics

To find out more go to the swimming.org website… 

Deafness should not stop children learning how to swim

A new resource is available for swimming teachers, coaches and parents to help teach deaf children to swim. ‘Deaf friendly swimming’ has been launched by The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) in partnership with the ASA. The guide shows swimming coaches, teachers and parents how, through making simple steps, deaf children can be taught to swim. Swimming centres and clubs will receive training, support and resources to help include deaf children in swimming sessions. Download the guide here.
Carole Barough, ASA National Development Manager, Disability Swimming, said: “The ASA is working with pools and clubs to ensure that all children and adults have the opportunity to learn to swim, regardless of their ability. We are also keen to help everyone to continue to swim on a regular basis and maximise their own potential. We welcome the provision of this resource, which is an excellent tool for teachers, coaches and parents to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing young people are fully supported in accessing swimming sessions”.
The resource aims to address excessive concerns about health and safety and a lack of understanding about deafness. The National Deaf Children’s Society have conducted research which reveals that two out of five deaf children have had difficulties accessing swimming pools or classes because of attitudes towards their hearing loss, meaning that they lack confidence in the water and are falling behind other children their age.
Hayley Jarvis, Inclusive Activities Manager at NDCS, said: “Too many deaf children are currently being denied the opportunity to learn swimming – a skill that could be vital in an emergency, as clubs and centres don’t understand how to meet their needs. However, we know these barriers can easily be overcome. Deafness should not stop children learning how to swim. By taking simple steps like using hand gestures or visual aids, teachers and coaches can include a deaf child in swimming activities. We are looking forward to working with swimming centres and clubs across the UK to help deaf children enjoy the water safely”. Read more on the swimming.org website…

Swim your way to long term health and wellbeing

Many people these days are leading increasingly inactive lifestyles, which is expected to result in many more suffering from health problems and chronic diseases in the future. By making a small change to your routine, it can have a huge impact on your health. Instead of going for a swift pint go for a swift swim! Or maybe you watch too much television? Why not swap the sofa for the pool and you will soon see the improvements to your health and fitness levels.
Swimming for 30 minutes at least once a week offers a whole host of health benefits including controlling cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, lowering the risk of cancer and preventing osteoporosis. It can burn up to 350 calories, helping with weight loss. Just think how easy it could be to fit in a quick swim, in a quiet daytime period at your local pool or even an over 50’s dedicated session. It’s not just your physical health that swimming has a positive impact on – it improves your mental well being, helps you to feel more motivated and boosts your energy levels. Swimming is also a great way to spend quality time with your family and one in three children say swimming is their favourite activity. You’ll definitely be the favourite grandparent when you offer to take them swimming!
If you’re not a confident swimmer, it’s never too late to learn. The first step is enrolling in swimming lessons to gain the skills to be safe in and around the water. Most pools and swim schools offer adult classes in a friendly and supportive environment that follow the British Gas ASA Learn to Swim Programme, the most successful sports programme of its kind and your assurance of quality. Read more on the swimming.org website…

Stay safe by the water this summer

Now that the summer is officially here and the days are getting warmer the British Waterways is urging visitors to the 2,000 miles of canal to enjoy the waters safely. 12 million people visit the waterways each year and the canals and rivers are more popular than ever. Although they may look tempting to cool off in on a hot summer’s day, British Waterways is urging people to stay safe and keep out of the water.

Canals are a real haven for people and nature and have something to offer everyone, from walkers and cyclists to boaters and anglers, families on days out and those wanting to enjoy the sunshine. Although the water may look inviting, any open body of water can pose a hazard, particularly to unsupervised children or anyone under the influence of alcohol.
People should resist the temptation to take a dip. The water is frequently colder than expected and can bring on cramps and sap energy of even the strongest swimmers. Dangers from strong current and faster flowing water around locks and weirs could also drag swimmers into danger. Contact with canal or river water can also bring about nasty stomach illnesses or Weil’s disease which although rare can be serious.

Tony Stammers, British Waterways’ Head of Health and Safety, said: “The canals are a great place to visit on a warm summer’s day as not only will visitors see lots of boats on the water but you will also see a wide variety of wildlife fluttering along the towpath. Canals, rivers and reservoirs are not suitable places for swimming as they may have hidden dangers lurking beneath the water that could cause serious injury if someone was to jump in. They can also be deep and the water quite cold which can quickly cause someone to get into trouble. It is far safer and much more fun to visit your local swimming pool or lido to cool off in the summer heat.” Read more on the British Waterways website…

Disability proves no barrier for Swimathon achievement

Swimming has given a disabled man from Canterbury the delight of achieving a personal goal when he successfully took part in the Swimathon Sports Relief Team Mile at Hartsdown Pool in Margate. 43 year old Andrew Warden has learning and physical disabilities and has always loved the water. Since becoming a resident at Avenues Trust Smock Acre care home in Canterbury, he has been supported by staff to enjoy swimming safely. Some of his carers made up the rest of the Swimathon team of five and provided support for Andrew in the water.

…nowadays having a severe disability such as Andrew has is not a barrier to being involved in sport. Swimming is Andrew’s main hobby and over the past four years has given him enormous benefits. By building up his physical strength, he is now swimming at least twice a week at Kings Mead Swimming Pool in Canterbury and Hartsdown Pool in Margate.

Lara Lill is Head of Health and Wellbeing at the ASA, the governing body for swimming and its associated disciplines in England.

“What a wonderful achievement this is – one of the great things about swimming is that it’s a fully inclusive activity for everyone to take part in. It’s a fantastic sport for adults and children with disabilities or special needs because the water is weight-bearing, which means it’s perfect for therapy and recovery. It’s already the favourite sport of many disabled adults like Andrew because it has amazing benefits with confidence-building and all the health and fitness aspects.”

Sarah Carberry, Acting House Manager at Avenues Smock Acre, said: “The Swimathon has been a great way of helping Andrew integrate into the community by participating in a local event with people he knows and surroundings he is familiar with. When Andrew finished his lengths I told him he had finished and pointed up to his mum telling him she was watching him, Andrew gave the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.”

“Andrew is now capable of swimming with very little support in the water and can swim between six and ten lengths of the pool. We are very pleased that Andrew has progressed so well with his swimming over the past few years. He has difficulty communicating but it was clear the first time he got in the pool that he enjoys swimming.

“Together with employees at the swimming pool, our Support Workers have worked with Andrew in the pool, encouraging him to swim independently. He is now well known at the local swimming pools who have all been very accommodating and supportive so it’s been really useful to raise awareness of disability in the community.”

Stella Warden, Andrew’s mum is also very pleased with the progress Andrew has made: “I am very happy and proud that Andrew was able to do the Swimathon. I was in tears as I watched him, it was such an achievement him just being part of it.”

Andrew’s sister Leslee Samuel had never seen him swim before she watched him take part: “It is enormously pleasing to see that nowadays having a severe disability such as Andrew has is not a barrier to being involved in sport or charity fundraising. Andrew loves to swim and I am sure he would be thrilled to realise he has raised several hundred pounds for charity by doing something he enjoys.”

Avenues provide a lot of support to disabled people across London, the South East and East Anglia, including a sport and active lifestyles project to get more disabled people active and regular supported swimming sessions for disabled people in Suffolk via Optua.

To get involved in swimming and find your nearest club use our Pool Finder – put in your postcode to find your local pool and ask about disability swimming lessons and clubs where you’ll find the right facilities with ASA qualified professionals. Read Andrew’s story on the swimming.org website…