Thousands raised for deaf charity in swim challenge

TAKING THE PLUNGE Swimmers in the sponsored 'swimathon' for The Elizabeth Foundation at the Oasis Wellness Centre on the Queen Alexandra Hospital site with Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cheryl Buggy.    Picture: Malcolm Wells (110800-5155)
TAKING THE PLUNGE Swimmers in the sponsored 'swimathon' for The Elizabeth Foundation at the Oasis Wellness Centre on the Queen Alexandra Hospital site with Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cheryl Buggy. Picture: Malcolm Wells (110800-5155)

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A GROUP of fundraisers swam dozens of miles and raised thousands of pounds for a deafness charity.

Twenty supporters of the Elizabeth Foundation took to the pool at the Oasis Wellness Centre at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth.

And although they have yet to count up the total, organisers believe they have made more than £5,000 from the sponsored event on Saturday evening.

All the participants had been asked to try to swim 80 lengths – a mile – and raise at least £150 each.

But some managed as much as 150 lengths.

Fundraising manager Alison Robinson said: ‘We haven’t done this for a few years, but with the Oasis centre now virtually next door to the foundation, it was perfect for us.

‘We had lots of keen swimmers ranging from my son Jeff who’s 17, to grandparents in their 60s, it was fantastic.

‘And because they were being sponsored by the length they were really swimming their hearts out.

‘Everyone was saying they wanted to swim their best so a lot of them did much more than they were originally intending to do.’

Shirley and David Metherell, the foundation’s founders, welcomed everyone at the centre before they attempted their gruelling feat.

And Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Cheryl Buggy, was also there to set the swimmers on their way.

Everyone who took part was given a medal and certificate to mark their achievement.

Mrs Robinson added: ‘The centre staff were great as well – they were helping out, acting as lifeguards and making sure everyone was safe – a couple of people got cramp and had to be pulled out and given massages.

‘The centre manager, Marcus, wasn’t supposed to be taking part, but even he jumped in and did a mile for us.

‘At the end of it quite a few people were asking us if we’ll be doing this again next year, which we’re already planning to do.’

Anyone interested in taking part next year should email info@elizabeth-foundation.org

The foundation, based at Southwick Hill Road in Cosham, teaches deaf children.

It will celebrate its 30th anniversary this September.

For more information about its work go to elizabeth-foundation.org