Sidmouth Rotary Club Swimathon set to raise cash for Help For Heroes charity

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:04 17 June 2010

A HOST of local teams are raring to get swimming in a bid to raise funds for wounded war heroes next week.

A HOST of local teams are raring to get swimming in a bid to raise funds for wounded war heroes next week.

Twenty-one teams and more than a hundred swimmers are set to dive into Sidmouth Swimming Pool next Sunday (September 7) as part of a Swimathon organised by the town's Rotary Club.

Teams from All Saints Church, East Devon District Council and Sidmouth Garden Centre, to name a few, are hoping to raise cash for the Help For Heroes Charity, which aids servicemen and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Such is the dedication of one fundraiser, she will be taking part from more than a thousand miles away in Cyprus. Sidmouth PCSO Jay Pepper is currently enjoying a holiday on the Mediterranean Island, but come next Sunday she and family members will be swimming in synchronisation with fellow fundraisers back home.

Sidmouth doctors and nurses will also don their swimwear and compete against each other.

Three All Saints Church teams will swim and have an added reason for doing so. Ex-curate at the church, Robin Richardson, is currently serving as a padre in Iraq. Church warden David Burgoyne said: "There's plenty of reasons to do this for such a worthy cause anyway, but that gives us an added incentive."

Rotary junior vice president David Mason, who has helped organise the event, is delighted by the response.

Mr Mason's daughter, Major Sally Mendonca, who's been heavily involved with helping seriously injured military personnel, will travel from her post in Northern Ireland to join a family team for the swim. She will however find herself in competition with her dad.

Mr Mason said: "I'm swimming for the Parish Church team, The Paddling Pensioners. I think there will be a friendly competitive egde, especially between the local churches and groups that have entered more than one team."

Organisers hope they can raise a substantial amount towards providing a gymnasium and swimming pool for the Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey. The centre is dedicated to aiding injured service men and women, many of whom have lost limbs. The Sid Valley Medical Practice will also receive £900 from the fundraiser.

The Swimathon will run from 3pm to 9pm. Teams will relay swim for 55 minute stints.

Anybody who would like to sponsor a team or find out more can contact David Mason of the Sidmouth Rotary Club on (01395) 516183.

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