Annual Sidmouth Swimathon raises £9,300 for charity

John Kinch, president of the Rotary Club of Sidmouth, presents John Summerside of the Memory Cafe wi

John Kinch, president of the Rotary Club of Sidmouth, presents John Summerside of the Memory Cafe with a cheque for £2,600. Picture: Clarissa Place - Credit: Clarissa Place

A record number of swimmers have raised £9,300 for Sid Valley charities after competing in the annual Swimathon.

In October, 161 people dived into Sidmouth Swimming Pool to raise money for the Sid Valley Memory Café, Sidmouth Hospiscare and the gig club.

Each charity will receive £2,600 with Sidmouth Hospiscare receiving a further £1,600 raised from the Sidmouth Golf Club team.

On Wednesday, the Rotary Club of Sidmouth presented Sid Valley Memory Café with a cheque for the donation, which equates to nearly half its running costs for the year.

John Summerside, from the memory café, said with the charity’s expanding services it was funding like this that kept it going.

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He said: “The memory café used to be once a month.

“It went to twice a month because of popular demand, which needed more volunteers. We then took it to every week.

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“It’s got to the stage that it is reaching capacity of Twyford House.

“We love Tywford House, its suits us down to the ground, we are getting to the stage where do we go next? What do we do next?

“It’s a continuation of the great work over the last 10 years. It’s funding like this that keeps the memory café going.”

Since launching nearly a decade ago, the charity was instrumental in securing £100,000 for Devon’s first Admiral Nurse, but alongside its ongoing campaign it needs to raise £6,000 a year to keep the cafe running.

John added: “It’s a place where people can come for friendship. There are people whose partners have died and they still come along to the memory café, they enjoy the people they have met and share their issues with.

“What they do for that £6,000 a year is absolutely amazing in the community 50 people a week getting some form of benefit whether it is having a cup of tea and a biscuit or chatting about any issues.”

Swimathon organiser Nigel Sharp thanked the swimmers, sponsors and Sidmouth swimming pool for their support this year.

The club will present cheques to the remaining charities in the coming weeks.

The beneficiaries for this year’s Swimathon will be announced in May.

The Swimathon will return on Saturday, October 5.

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