FitzHenry family swim 1,000 lengths in memory of Kingsley
PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 December 2015
A fundraising family inspired by the Herald's Kingsley Squire to get back in the water said 'he was with us in spirit' as they completed a 1,000-lengths swim challlenge.
A dozen FitzHenrys reunited to boost Pancreatic Cancer Action to thank Kingsley for covering their previous English Channel challenge, and for his friendship ever since.
Their latest fundraiser took place just days after Kingsley died, tinging it with sadness but giving them an added determination to succeed.
“We swam the channel in 2008 and Kingsley supported us very well in that,” said Paul FitzHenry, who at the age of 56 was the eldest swimmer – 49 years senior to the youngest.
“We re-formed the team to do something for him as payback.
“It was just after hearing of his sad passing away. We’re pretty sure he was with us in spirit.
“We were proud we were able to finish something he started.”
Kingsley, a keen swimmer himself, knew Paul since the early 1990s and was eager to write about the ‘Swim like a Fitz’ Channel crossing when he heard about it.
They stayed in touch, and Kingsley covered family’s bike ride from Berlin to Paris last year - a mile for every day of World War One to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
The challenges raised thousands of pounds for a raft of charities and the FitzHenrys set into action again after Kingsley was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, choosing to help the support charity.
“Swimming in the sea wasn’t an option, so we went in the pool,” said Paul.
“We had a moment before we got in the water to think of him [Kingsley]. I think it gave everyone a bit more determination.”
He had expected getting 12 swimmers together to be more difficult, but said everyone pulled out the stops to be there.
The younger family members, some who had been too young for the channel crossing, stepped up their training.
Paul gave a special mention to eight-year-old Ryan, who more than did his fair share, swimming 93 lengths.
Meanwhile, Paul’s son Dan drove down from Bath, swam for the hour-and-a-quarter it took the family to complete 1,000 lengths – then drove straight back to get to work.
The FitzHenrys have raised £700 so far. A bucket for donations will be at Sidmouth Swimming Pool for another week, or there is a fundraising page online at www.justgiving.com/David-FitzHenry